Defination of Sociology - DOC

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					Defination of Sociology

1. Do you agree with the statement that sociology is the study of social relationship? (Winter

Yes I agree with the statement.

The term sociology finds its origin in Latin word 'societus' which means society.
Thus Sociology means basically science of society. It is thus a web of human inter-action
and inter-relations. It is study of man's behavior in groups and in the society as a whole.

Sociology is the study of society and human social interaction. Sociological research ranges
from the analysis of short contacts between anonymous individuals on the street to the study
of global social processes.

The field focuses on how and why people are organized in society, either as individuals or as
members of associations, groups, and institutions. Someone working in the field of sociology
is called a sociologist. As an academic discipline, sociology is considered a social science.

Some of the important definitions of term 'sociology 'are given below.

Sociology is scientific study of society. Thus according to him, a subject which scientifically
studeis society is a sociology.

H. P. Fairchild:
Sociology is a study of relationships between man and human behaviour. This definition lays
stress on the proper study of human relations and behaviours.

Sociology is about social relationship, the network of relationships we call society.

Sociology is concerned with the study of a social life of man and its
relations to factors of culture, natural environments heridity and group.
All the above definitions made it clear that Sociology is the study of Social relationships.
Biosphere cycle
The Carbon Cycle
The Biosphere

The biosphere is the relatively thin stratum of the Earth‘s surface and upper water layer that
contains the total mass of living organisms, which process and recycle the energy and
nutrients available from the environment.

The whole Earth is an ecosystem, a system of give and take among plants, animals and their
surroundings. As in any system, whatever happens to one part of an ecosystem affects its
other parts. Materials are cycled from soil, water and air through the plants and animals and
then back to the soil, water and air.

The energy that operates the ecosystem originates in the sun. This solar energy is trapped
by green plants in the food they manufacture during the process of photosynthesis. The
energy is needed to hold atoms of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and other elements
together in the compounds we call food. As the food is used by the plants, by animals that
eat the plants and by animals that eat other animals, energy is released and used. As carbon
and other elements are cycled through the plants and animals and back into the soil, water
and air, energy dissipates.

An understanding of the biosphere involves the study not only of its constituent organisms
but also the cycles by which energy and essential substances are transferred among species
and between the biotic and a biotic segments of the environment. Photosynthesis, for
example, the first stage in the conversion of solar energy into usable nutrients, operates at
maximum efficiency of three (3) per cent. At each stage in the transfer of this energy through
the consumption of plants by animals, efficiency declines.

In order for an organism to make the most efficient use of the energy it consumes, it must
regulate its activity within an environment that supplies the temperature and the amounts of
sunlight, water, and essential elements optimal for its species. As energy flows in a single
direction from solar radiation through plants and animals to humans and is dissipated at each
successive stage, the chemical elements essential for life cycle through the biotic
community. Gaseous elements are generally transferred through the atmosphere or
hydrosphere, and the mineral elements such as magnesium, boron, sulfur, calcium,
potassium, and phosphorus are absorbed through the soil and transmitted by water to plants
and animals.

Oxygen, for example, is cycled as an element of water and of mineral compounds, and it is
released into the atmosphere in its free form by photosynthesis. Most important of all,
perhaps, is the cycle of water, a substance necessary for all life forms and a principal
determinant of the climatic conditions suitable for each species. Water is circulated primarily
through evaporation and precipitation and distributed chiefly as a liquid over much of the
Earth‘s surface, or as atmospheric water vapour. It is absorbed directly by plants and
animals in both liquid and gaseous states and is released through respiration, perspiration,
elimination, and, in plants, transpiration. Besides its importance as a component of all
organisms, it also serves as a medium for the transference of nutrients and assists in the
regulation of internal conditions such as body temperature.

Carbon cycle
The carbon cycle is the biogeochemical cycle by which carbon is exchanged between the
biosphere, geosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere of the Earth.

The cycle is usually thought of as four major reservoirs of carbon interconnected by
pathways of exchange. The reservoirs are the atmosphere, the terrestrial biosphere (which
usually includes freshwater systems and non-living organic material, such as soil carbon),
the oceans (which includes dissolved inorganic carbon and living and non-living marine
biota), and the sediments (which includes fossil fuels).

The annual movements of carbon, the carbon exchanges between reservoirs, occur because
of various chemical, physical, geological, and biological processes. The ocean contains the
largest active pool of carbon near the surface of the Earth, but the deep ocean part of this
pool does not rapidly exchange with the atmosphere.

In the atmosphere:
Carbon exists in the Earth's atmosphere primarily as the gas carbon dioxide (CO2). Although
it is a very small part of the atmosphere overall (approximately 0.04% on a molar basis,
though rising), it plays an important role in supporting life. Other gases containing carbon in
the atmosphere are methane and chlorofluorocarbons (the latter is entirely anthropogenic).
The overall atmospheric concentration of these greenhouse gases has been increasing in
recent decades, contributing to global warming.[1]

In the biosphere:
Around 1,900 gigatons of carbon are present in the biosphere. Carbon is an essential part of
life on Earth. It plays an important role in the structure, biochemistry, and nutrition of all living

In the oceans:
The seas contain around 36,000 gigatonnes of carbon, mostly in the form of bicarbonate ion.
Inorganic carbon, that is carbon compounds with no carbon-carbon or carbon-hydrogen
bonds, is important in its reactions within water. This carbon exchange becomes important in
controlling pH in the ocean and can also vary as a source or sink for carbon. Carbon is
readily exchanged between the atmosphere and ocean. In regions of oceanic upwelling,
carbon is released to the atmosphere. Conversely, regions of downwelling transfer carbon
(CO2) from the atmosphere to the ocean.

Causes for eco-imbalance
Eco-Friendly Packaging & Eco-Mark on packages

Of late, when we see Plastic bags floating around and uncleared garbage containing
beverage cartons of fruit juice, flavoured milk and used cushioning materials like thermocole,
one wonders whether packaging materials are causing eco-imbalance by way of draining
natural resources and causing pollution. The question arises whether is it due to the
packaging materials alone or a failure of our system of clearing garbage and its disposal.
Also one gets a feeling that we are over packing.

The estimate of packaging waste varies from country to country and it could be from 1% to
8% of the garbage. As such let us examine the role of packaging in our day to day life.
Basically the function of packaging is for distribution and it has to protect, preserve and
promote the product (3 P‘s). In the case of consumer products it acts as a silent salesman
and marketing tool. In particular, the wastages in perishable products vary from 5% in
developed countries where adequate packaging is adopted to 25 to 30% in countries where
it is inadequately packed.

As such, packaging is vital to reduce wastage, increase shelf life and cater to the market in
distant places where it is not produced or manufactured. It meets the demands of society
which calls for more consumer products to enhance the quality of life.
It has to perform the functions of creating brand image, identify quantity, usage, expiry date,
etc. It should also be easily openable and disposable. The increased demand of packaged
products has resulted in increased packaging waste and consequent disposable problems
and effects on pollution. The enhanced consumption of packaging materials has resulted in
depletion of natural resources, higher energy consumption and pollution of water and air. As
such, there is a need for eco-friendly packaging.

Today in every walk of life we talk in terms of Eco-friendly and Eco-labeling.
The earlier conference in Brazil on environment has highlighted the dwindling natural
resources, pollution, acid rain etc. Subsequently, the Montreal Protocol had highlighted the
effects on Ozone Layer by the use of chlorofluro carbons.

In view of the growing menace of Packaging Waste, Germany, in 1991, issued an ordinance
on the ‗avoidance of Packaging Waste‘, which will be a trail blazer for other E.E. Countries.

With awareness of the community to changed circumstances, the use of Eco-labelled
packages is bound to have an effect on the buying habits and as such the filler of the
material or manufacturer should Eco-label their package which will help to reduce, recycle,
reuse or recover the packaging waste.

Earlier not much thought was given on disposal of plastic material since it was mainly used
for land filling. Subsequently it was noticed that over long periods of time the plastics remain
as such in the landfill and it was not bio-degradable.

As a first step, considerable work was carried out by Scientists to develop bio-degradable
plastic. Though it has been successfully developed, at the moment it is uneconomical. As
such, more attention was given to make use of plastic waste which is eco-friendly from the
point of natural resources since the basic raw material is by-product of petroleum industry. In
addition the manufacture of plastics, consumes less energy and also it gives greater
coverage since it affords the desired protection in very low thickness.

As such, there is considerable savings in tare weight of packaging materials. Instead of
removal of huge mass of garbage, by segregation the respective materials is directly sent to
the agency which recycles and recovers and pays for the same. The funds thus generated
meets the cost of disposal of garbage. Examples are available where communities by co-
operating in segregation of packaging wastes, generate surplus funds in addition to meeting
the cost of disposal.
It is the eco-labelling of plastics by way of accepted convention, the recovery and recycling of
plastics has been made easy. In advanced countries, on all plastic containers and bags there
is recycling sign below which there is a number which helps in identifying the plastics to
assist in recycling. In Germany, they have introduced the green dot sign by which the buyer
is able to identify the package which is eco-friendly.

In addition to the above, the following steps are in vogue in advanced countries to reduce
packaging wastes. Pierra J. Louis lists the following areas to achieve the above object.

1. Lowering the weight of packaging materials without decreasing the level of protection or
consumer safety.
2. Avoiding over-packaging.
3. Developing new materials that are more easily recyclable.
4. Developing new recycling technologies.
5. Substitution for packages that will facilitate the collecting / sorting operations after use.
6. Switching to packaging materials and packages that can be incinerated easily without
generating hazardous substances.
7. Engineering new returnable packaging systems for both consumer and industrial goods.

Pierra J Louis, General Secretary, World Packaging Organisation, President, International
Packaging Club, IPC
In our country only Eco-labelling of plastic will not help unless the community takes
responsibility in segregating the garbage.

We dump all the materials which we want to dispose into the garbage including food waste,
garden waste, packaging waste and all unwanted materials, which cannot be recycled or
recovered. Unfortunately the rag-picker selects from the garbage materials which can be
easily recycled.. In addition, stray animals and crows further spread the garbage and the
food waste resulting in unpleasant smell and mosquito nuisance. In advanced countries, in
addition to segregating at home and industries, even offices havE suitable collection bins TO
segregate the stationery waste. As such, the first and foremost requirement is segregation of
garbage at domestic level, industrial units, and even in market places.

We must eco-label our plastic containers and bags according to accepted international
convention as given in the following table:
                             1 PET          POLYESTER
                             2 HDPE         HIGH DENSITY
                             3 V            VINYLE (PVC)
                             4 LDPE         LOW DENSITY
                             5 PP           POLYPROPYLENE
                             6 PS           POLYSTYRENE
                             7 OTHERS       UNCLASSIFIED

As a first step this should be introduced in the case of mineral water bottle, plastic containers
for various food products and plastic bags and sachets. Only in the case of food products,
pharmaceuticals and cosmetics virgin material should used. In other cases the packaging
used should contain a major portion of recycled waste including post consumer waste and
the percentage may be indicated on the package, along with the eco-label mark.
The Government should encourage recovery plants at major consumption centers and
necessary incentives should be given to entrepreneurs to start these units. To cite an
example, in advanced countries polyester bottles are recycled to a great extent and the
products for which they are used are strapping, containers for non-food items and injection
moulded industrial products. Garden wastage which occupies considerable volume should
be segregated and composting facilities should be established.

In the case of secondary packaging, recent techniques such as Shrink packaging / stretch
packaging should be adopted to minimize use of paper based materials to reduce garbage.
In the case of transport packages wood should be used wherever it is absolutely necessary.
We can minimize the use of wood by replacing wooden boxes with crates or sheathed

For sheathing we should not use plywood which is not eco-friendly. Instead, we may use
corrugated board or solid board made of cellulosic material. Shipping containers made of
corrugated board or solid board should be used wherever possible since it can be made from
recycled materials and also from agricultural waste which are replenished.

Environmental Degradation
When the environment becomes less valuable or damaged, environmental degradation is
said to occur.
There are many forms of environmental degradation. When habitats are destroyed,
biodiversity is lost, or natural resources are depleted, the environment is hurt.
Environmental degradation can occur naturally, or through human processes. The largest
areas of concern at present are the loss of rain forests, air pollution and smog, ozone
depletion, and the destruction of the marine environment.

Pollution is occurring all over the world and poisoning the planet's oceans. Even in remote
areas, the effects of marine degradation are obvious. In some areas, the natural environment
has been exposed to hazardous waste. In other places, major disasters such as oil spills
have ruined the local environment.

CFCs, or chlorofluorocarbons, are the primary cause of ozone depletion. When industrial
processes release these chemicals, they rise into the stratosphere and degrade the ozone.

Acid rain, smog and poor air quality have been the result of air pollution. Both industrial
operations and automobiles have released gigantic amounts of emissions that have
intensified these problems.

Deforestation and the logging industry have destroyed many tropical rain forests around the
world. This has destroyed many natural habitats, and the plants and animals native to the
areas. Environmentalists are working hard to combat environmental degradation. There are
countless organizations located all over the world that are dedicated to preventing the global
destruction of the environment.
Environmental degradation
Environmental degradation is a global issue. Problems like global warming, deforestation,
destruction of old growth forests and industrial pollution are all linked to poor use of our
natural resources.

The actions of both wealthy and poor countries are responsible, yet the poorest people suffer

Floods and droughts that are a result of global warming are largely accelerated by pollution
from wealthy countries. Unfortunately, the effects are felt most by the world‘s poorest people.
The environment also suffers when poor people cut down trees for fuel.

Finding sustainable environmental solutions will help reduce poverty and conserve the planet
for us all – rich and poor

Surviving on the environment
In rural areas, wealthier farmers tend to have the best land and use modern technology.
Poorer people end up with the less fertile, more fragile land. Many are subsistence farmers,
which means they can only grow just enough food for their families, with no surplus to sell.

Environmental changes have a huge effect on their ability to survive.
Cutting down trees for farming or to provide fuel for cooking or heating leaves land prone to
soil erosion. This not only means that crops don‘t grow as well in the depleted soil, but that
heavy rains or floods are more damaging.

Where trees are cut down from slopes, the soil can become unstable and cause landslides.
Communities that rely on fertile flood plains for their annual crop go hungry if the rain doesn‘t
come, or if too much comes.
Our actions affect other lives
The whole planet is interlinked, sometimes in very complex ways. We may not see the effect
of environmental damage in our own surroundings, but the damage is causing problems in
other places – even other countries.

Pesticides or industrial waste that get into the waterways are killing off oceanic fish stocks.
This is especially affecting people in poor countries who rely on fishing to survive.

Deforestation, particularly on slopes, means more rainwater pours into rivers, causing floods
further downstream – often in vulnerable communities who live on low-lying land.

Pollution from substances like chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and methyl bromide – from
increased car exhaust fumes and burning of fossil fuels in power plants – have contributed to
the depletion of the ozone layer. Emissions of some of these substances have now been
reduced, but recovery takes time.

Global warming is another major issue in the world‘s growing environmental problems.
Rising temperatures are already having an impact around the world. Sea levels are rising,
threatening to swamp small island nations and erode coastal soils.

Global warming also affects rainfall patterns, contributing to heavy rain and floods in some
regions, while causing droughts in others. (1)

Developed nations like Australia contribute significantly to the greenhouse gases that cause
global warming. Heavy use of motor vehicles and the burning of fossil fuels in power plants
and industrial processes are mainly to blame.

All of these factors are making the environment worse for the world‘s most vulnerable people
who are already struggling.

Our ecological footprint
In mid 2005, the world‘s population was 6.45 billion. In the next 50 years, it is expected to
grow to nine billion. (2) Clearly, this is not good news for our environment and especially for
poor people who already lack the resources they need to survive.

Every person uses up a certain amount of the Earth‘s finite resources. A formula has been
created to work out someone‘s impact on the environment based on their levels of
consumption. This is called the ‗ecological footprint‘.

People in wealthy countries tend to use more resources than poor countries because they
can afford scarce resources and have a higher standard of living.

Studies using the ‗ecological footprint‘ formula show that if everyone in the world consumed
resources at the same rate as people in the richest countries, humans would need at least
three planet Earths to support everyone. (3)

While many people in
Malawi regularly suffer
the effects of drought,
these farmers are
moving towards a
‗drought-free‘ future.
Treadle pumps to
improve irrigation,
drought-resistant crops
and reforestation work
all contribute to this
Sustainable solutions
To tackle environmental degradation and its effect on the most vulnerable people, we need
to deal with all its many causes.

This includes supporting poor communities to find environmentally sustainable ways of
surviving and taking action as wealthy nations to reduce our contribution to global warming.

The people of Mlolo in Malawi, east Africa have already made a start at improving their lives
without destroying the environment.
They have done this through irrigation, planting fast-maturing and drought-resistant crops
like millet and sorghum, implementing a program of reforestation that includes renewable
sources for firewood and switching to mulch instead of chemical fertilizers.

The community now grows enough food for it to eat, with surplus to sell to cover school fees
and other needs.

Other resources
Eco-footprint is a tool that allows Environmental Protection Authority to summarise
Victoria's level of sustainability in a single value – the area of land required to sustain our
level of resource consumption and waste disposal. Calculate your own eco-footprint, your
office's eco-footprint or your school's eco-footprint.

Ozone depletion
Find out more about the effects of ozone depletion at the United States‘ Environmental
Protection Agency Ozone site.

E-Waste Management
Definition of e-waste :

Electronic waste, popularly known as ‗e-waste‘ can be defined as electronic equipments /
products connects with power plug, batteries which have become obsolete due to:
advancement in technology
changes in fashion, style and status
nearing the end of their useful life.
Classification of e-waste :
E-waste encompasses ever growing range of obsolete electronic devices such as
computers, servers, main frames, monitors, TVs & display devices, telecommunication
devices such as cellular phones & pagers, calculators, audio and video devices, printers,
scanners, copiers and fax machines besides refrigerators, air conditioners, washing
machines, and microwave ovens, e-waste also covers recording devices such as DVDs,
CDs, floppies, tapes, printing cartridges, military electronic waste, automobile catalytic
converters, electronic components such as chips, processors, mother boards, printed circuit
boards, industrial electronics such as sensors, alarms, sirens, security devices, automobile
electronic devices.

Indian Scenario :
There is an estimate that the total obsolete computers originating from government offices,
business houses, industries and household is of the order of 2 million nos. Manufactures and
assemblers in a single calendar year, estimated to produce around 1200 tons of electronic
scrap. It should be noted that obsolence rate of personal computers (PC) is one in every two
years. The consumers finds it convenient to buy a new computer rather than upgrade the old
one due to the changing configuration, technology and the attractive offers of the

Due to the lack of governmental legislations on e-waste, standards for disposal, proper
mechanism for handling these toxic hi-tech products, mostly end up in landfills or partly
recycled in a unhygienic conditions and partly thrown into waste streams. Computer waste is
    generated from the individual households; the government, public and private sectors;
    computer retailers; manufacturers; foreign embassies; secondary markets of old PCs. Of
    these, the biggest source of PC scrap are foreign countries that export huge computer waste
    in the form of reusable components.

    Electronic waste or e-waste is one of the rapidly growing environmental problems of the
    world. In India, the electronic waste management assumes greater significance not only due
    to the generation of our own waste but also dumping ofe-waste particularly computer waste
    from the developed countries.

    With extensively using computers and electronic equipments and people dumping old
    electronic goods for new ones, the amount ofE-Waste generated has been steadily
    increasing. At present Bangalore alone generates about 8000 tonnes of computer waste
    annually and in the absence of proper disposal, they find their way to scrap dealers.

    E-Parisaraa, an eco-friendly recycling unit on the outskirts of Bangalore which is located in
    Dobaspet industrial area, about 45 Km north of Bangalore, makes full use ofE-Waste. The
    plant which is India‘s first scientific e-waste recycling unit will reduce pollution, landfill waste
    and recover valuable metals, plastics & glass from waste in an eco-friendly manner. E-
    Parisaraa has developed a circuit to extend the life of tube lights. The circuit helps to extend
    the life of fluorescent tubes by more than 2000 hours. If the circuits are used, tube lights can
    work on lower voltages. The initiative is to aim at reducing the accumulation of used and
    discarded electronic and electrical equipments.

    India as a developing country needs simpler, low cost technology keeping in view of
    maximum resource recovery in an environmental friendly methodologies. E-Parisaraa, deals
    with practical aspect ofe-waste processing as mentioned below by hand. Phosphor affects
    the display resolution and luminance of the images that is seen in the monitor.

    E-Parisaraa‘s Director Mr. P. Parthasarathy, an IIT Madras graduate, and a former
    consultant for a similar e-waste recycling unit in Singapore, has developed an eco-friendly
    methodology for reusing, recycling and recovery of metals, glass & plastics with non-
    incineration methods . The hazardous materials are segregated separately and send for
    secure land fill for ex.: phosphor coating, LED‘s, mercury etc.

    We have the technology to recycle most of the e-waste and only less than one per cent of
    this will be regarded as waste, which can go into secure landfill planned in the vicinity by the
    HAWA project.
    Historical development of science and technology
    Science & Technology

    Aviation and Space
           Apollo 11: Man's First Moon Walk in 1969
           Dawning of the Space Age
           Early 20th-century developments in human flight
           Firsts in Aviation
           First U.S. Satellite
           Major Space Explorationsn
           Notable Staffed Space Flights
        Notable Unstaffed Lunar and Interplanetary Probes
        Space Shuttle Timeline
        Soviet Staffed Space Flight Programs
        U.S. Staffed Space Flights

    Buildings and Structures
        Architects
        Architects and their Masterpieces
        Cathedrals, Some Famous
        Famous Structures
        The Liberty Bell
        Seven Wonders of the Ancient World
        Seven Wonders of the Modern World
        Skyscraper History
        Statue of Liberty
        Washington, D.C. Memorials and Landmarks
o                Arlington National Cemetery
o                The Supreme Court Building
o                The White House
        World Trade Center History

    Inventions and Discoveries
        Everyday Inventions
        Internet Timeline
        Medical Advances Timeline
        Transportation Timelines
        More Inventions and Discoveries

    Human Evolution, Anthropology and Archaeology
        Anthropology and Archaeology
o              Anthropology: Terms and Concepts
o              Archaeology
o              More Anthropology and Archaeology
        Human Evolution
o              Human Evolution (Almanac)
o              Historical Development and Mechanisms of Evolution and Natural Selection
o              Microevolution and Macroevolution
o              Origin of Life
o              Human Evolution (Encyclopedia)
                      Australopithecus
                      Bronze Age
                      Cro-Magnon man
                      Homo erectus
                      Iron Age
                      Mesolithic period (Middle Stone Age)
                      Major Discoveries about Human Ancestors
                      Neanderthal man
                      Paleolithic period (Old Stone Age)
                          Neolithic period (New Stone Age)

    Universe and Earth
          Age and Composition of the Universe
          Earth Timeline: How People Have Affected the Environment
          Formation of the Solar System
          Origin of the Universe
          Table of Geological Periods
          Subjects:
o                  Geography |
o                  History |
o                  Language Arts |
o                  Mathematics |
o                  Science |
o                  Social Studies

    Natural Ecosystem
    What is an Ecosystem?
    An ecosystem is a geographical area of a variable size where plants,
    animals, the landscape and the climate all interact together.

    The whole earth's surface can be described by a series of interconnected
    ecosystems. All living beings form and are part of ecosystems. They are
    diverse and always changing. Within an ecosystem, all aspects of the
    environment (both living things and their non-living settings) interact and
    affect one another. Every species affects the lives of those around them

    A small ecosystem in the boreal forest might look something like this: in the
    summertime, trees in forests (that produce oxygen used by living things
    through photosynthesis) lower the temperature in the forest for communities
    in the hot summer months. In turn, some members of the communities will
    probably feed upon the tree to gain nourishment, thus affecting or stunting
    the tree's growth.

    Most of us are confused when it comes to the words ecosystem and biome.
    What's the difference? There is a slight difference between the two words.

    An ecosystem is much smaller than a biome. Conversely, a biome can be
    thought of many similar ecosystems throughout the world grouped together.
    An ecosystem can be as large as the Sahara Desert, or as small as a puddle
    or vernal pool.

    Ecosystems are dynamic interactions between plants, animals, and
    microorganisms and their environment working together as a functional unit.
    Ecosystems will fail if they do not remain in balance. No community can carry
    more organisms than its food, water, and shelter can accomodate. Food and
    territory are often balanced by natural phenomena such as fire, disease, and
    the number of predators. Each organism has its own niche, or role, to play.
How have humans affected the ecosystems?
We have affected ecosystems in almost every way imaginable! Every time
we walk out in the wilderness or bulldoze land for a new parking lot we are
drastically altering an ecosystem. We have disrupted the food chain, the
carbon cycle, the nitrogen cycle, and the water cycle. Mining minerals also
takes its toll on an ecosystem. We need to do our best to not interfere in
these ecosystems and let nature take its toll.

Ozone Layer
The ozone layer: What is it?
The ozone layer is a portion of earth‘s atmosphere that contains high levels of ozone. The
atmosphere is divided into five layers: the troposphere, the stratosphere, the mesosphere,
the thermosphere, and the exosphere. The troposphere is the layer closest to earth and is
where all weather happenings occur. The stratosphere is located directly above the
troposphere, about 10-50 kilometers above the planet, and houses the ozone layer at an
altitude of 20-30 kilometers. The mesosphere is located approximately 50-80 kilometers
above the earth, while the thermosphere rests at an altitude of approximately 100-200
kilometers above the earth?s surface. Finally, the boundary of the outermost layer, the
exosphere, extends roughly to 960-1000 kilometers above the earth. For a visual of the
lowermost three layers of our atmosphere.

Figure 1: Earth's atmosphere is divided into layers, which have various characteristics.
Source: NOAA Aeronomy Laboratory, 1998 The ozone found in our atmosphere is formed by
an interaction between oxygen molecules (composed of two oxygen atoms) and ultraviolet
light. When ultraviolet light hits these oxygen molecules, the reaction causes the molecules
to break apart into single atoms of oxygen (UV light + O2 --> O + O). These single atoms of
oxygen are very reactive, and a single atom combines with a molecule of oxygen to form
ozone (O3), which is composed of three atoms of oxygen (2O + 2O2 --> 2O3).

The ozone layer is essential for human life. It is able to absorb much harmful ultraviolet
radiation, preventing penetration to the earth‘s surface. Ultraviolet radiation (UV) is defined
as radiation with wavelengths between 290-320 nanometers, which are harmful to life
       because this radiation can enter cells and destroy the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) of many
       life forms on planet earth. In a sense, the ozone layer can be thought of as a UV filter, or our
       planet‘s built in sunscreen? (, 1998).

       Without the ozone layer, UV radiation would not be filtered as it reached the surface of the
       earth. If this happened, ?cancer would break out and all of the living civilizations, and all
       species on earth would be in jeopardy? (, 1998). Thus, the ozone layer
       essentially allows life, as we know it, to exist. In order for scientists to evaluate how much
       ozone is in the layer, a unit of measurement called the Dobson Unit is employed. A Dobson
       Unit is a measurement of how thick a specific portion of the ozone layer would be if it were
       compressed into a single layer at zero degrees Celsius with one unit of atmospheric
       pressure acting on it (standard temperature and pressure - STP). Thus, one Dobson Unit
       (DU) is defined as .01 mm thickness at standard temperature and pressure. Figure 2 shows
       a column of air over Labrador, Canada. Since the ozone layer over this area would form a 3
       mm thick slab, the measurement of the ozone over Labrador is 300 DU.

       Figure 2: Ozone thickness over Labrador, Canada measured in Dobson Units Source:
       NASA, 1998

       Ozone depletion: Who is responsible?
       It is important to recognize the sources of ozone depletion before one can fully understand
       the problem. There are three main contributors to the ozone problem: human activity, natural
       sources, and volcanic eruptions.

                                                              Figure 3: Humans cause more damage
to the ozone layer than any other source. Source:, 1998 Human activity is by far the
most prevalent and destructive source of ozone depletion, while threatening volcanic eruptions are
less common. Human activity, such as the release of various compounds containing chlorine or
bromine, accounts for approximately 75 to 85 percent of ozone damage. Perhaps the most evident
and destructive molecule of this description is chloroflourocarbon (CFC). CFCs were first used to
clean electronic circuit boards, and as time progressed, were used in aerosols and coolants, such as
refrigerators and air conditioners.

When CFCs from these products are released into the atmosphere, the destruction begins. As CFCs
are emitted, the molecules float toward the ozone rich stratosphere. Then, when UV radiation
contacts the CFC molecule, this causes one chlorine atom to liberate. This free chlorine then reacts
with an ozone (O3) molecule to form chlorine monoxide (ClO) and a single oxygen molecule (O2).
This reaction can be illustrated by the following chemical equation: Cl + O3 --> O2 + ClO. Then, a
single oxygen atom reacts with a chlorine monoxide molecule, causing the formation of an oxygen
molecule (O2) and a single chlorine atom (O + ClO --> Cl + O2). This threatening chlorine atom then
continues the cycle and results in further destruction of the ozone layer (See Figure 4). Measures
have been taken to reduce the amount of CFC emission, but since CFCs have a life span of 20-100
years, previously emitted CFCs will do damage for years to come.

Figure 4: A pictorial explanation of how the interaction of CFCs and UV radiation damage the
ozone layer. Source:, 1998

Natural sources also contribute to the depletion of the ozone layer, but not nearly as much as human
activity. Natural sources can be blamed for approximately 15 to 20 percent of ozone damage. A
common natural source of ozone damage is naturally occurring chlorine. Naturally occurring
chlorine, like the chlorine released from the reaction between a CFC molecule and UV radiation, also
has detrimental effects and poses danger to the earth. Finally, volcanic eruptions are a small
contributor to ozone damage, accounting for one to five percent. During large volcanic eruptions,
chlorine, as a component of hydrochloric acid (HCl), is released directly into the stratosphere, along
with sulfur dioxide. In this case, sulfur dioxide is more harmful than chlorine because it is converted
into sulfuric acid aerosols. These aerosols accelerate damaging chemical reactions, which cause
chlorine to destroy ozone.

The ozone hole: Why over Antarctica?
When the topic of the ozone layer arises, many people immediately think of the hole over Antarctica,
but few know why the hole is actually there. In 1985, British scientists discovered this hole. A special
condition exists in Antarctica that accelerates the depletion of the ozone layer. Every Arctic winter, a
polar vortex forms over Antarctica. A polar vortex is a swirling mass of very cold, stagnant air
surrounded by strong westerly winds (Roan, 126). Since there is an absence of sun during Arctic
winters, the air becomes incredibly cold and the formation of ice clouds occurs. When the sun
returns in the spring, the light shining on the nitrogen oxide filled ice particles activates the formation
of chlorine.
This excess of ozone destroying chlorine rapidly accelerates the depletion of the ozone layer.
Finally, when the polar vortex breaks up, the rapid dissolution decreases. It is evident that the effects
of the polar vortex are dramatic. For about two month every southern spring, the total ozone declines
by about 60% over most of Antarctica. In the core of the ozone hole, more than 75% of the ozone is
lost and at some altitudes, the ozone virtually disappeared in October, 1993 (Nilsson, 19). The
average size of the ozone hole is larger than most continents, including South America, Europe,
Australia, and Antarctica, and the maximum size of the ozone hole in 1996 was larger than North
America (See Figure 5). Finally, one must note that the hole over Antarctica is truly a hole only in the
Antarctic spring, when the depletion is extremely severe due to the vortex.

Figure 5: On average, the size of the ozone hole is larger than many countries. Source:, 1998. The hole above Antarctica has clearly proven to be detrimental. Plankton,
organisms that live on carbon, light, and nutrients such as nitrogen, are near the bottom of the food
chain, and are accustomed to low levels of UV. In December of 1994, on the island of Bacharcaise
off Antarctica, increased levels of UV radiation decreased the number of photoplankton dramatically.
Photoplankton are the main source of food for krill, which in turn are the main source of food for
various birds and whales in the Antarctic region (See Figure 6).

                                                                          Figure 6: Ultraviolet radiation
proved detrimental to this Arctic food chain in December, 1994. Source: Nilsson, 1996 At this time,
due to the decreased number of photo plankton, the krill level was so low that it could not support
the penguin population. Thus, some penguins were forced to travel up to two hundred miles in
search of food, but most returned with none. Furthermore, when summer came, only approximately
ten of the 1800 hatched penguin chicks survived. This tragedy illustrates the fact that even
underwater creatures are not protected from harmful UV rays, and is a perfect example of the entire
food chain being affected due to an increase in the UV radiation as a result of the thinning ozone

the most obvious and perhaps most important connection between society and the ozone layer is
the fact that scientific research suggests depletion of the ozone layer directly and indirectly
endangers the health of the population. Research has focused on connections between the
depleting ozone layer and skin cancer, immuno-suppression, cataracts, and snow blindness.

Ozone depletion and skin cancer: What’s the connection?
Exposure to UV radiation increases the risk of skin cancer and causes damage to the DNA in the
skin cells. DNA is extremely sensitive to UV radiation, especially UV-B radiation. UV radiation is
located in the optical radiation portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, while UV-B radiation is a
subdivision of the ultraviolet spectrum and consists of a wavelength of 280 to 315 nanometers. Thus,
DNA is especially sensitive to radiation with a wavelength between 280 and 315 nanometers (See
Figure 7).

Figure 7: UV-B, the most harmful radiation to humans and plants, has a wavelength of 280-315
nanometers, as measured on the electromagnetic spectrum. Source: Nilsson, 1996

When UV radiation hits the skin, it can cause the cell to ?lock up? and scramble or delete DNA
information. This action causes confusion in the DNA, and the body loses control of the growth and
division of the cell. If the conditions are right, the cell may become cancerous. It is important to note
that not all affected cells turn into skin cancer, for many can repair themselves. However, continual
exposure to UV radiation increases the risk of skin cancer due to cumulative damage of the DNA.

Skin cancer can be divided into two categories: melanoma and non-melanoma. The melanoma form
of skin cancer is the more dangerous of the two. This type of cancer has the ability to spread quickly
throughout the body and invade other cells. On the other hand, non-melanoma skin cancer is not to
be taken lightly either, but is a less serious form of the disease. Non-melanoma skin cancers are not
usually life threatening, and removal is relatively routine. However, treatment does include radiation
therapy or surgery. The concern of many is that sunburn may lead to increased risk of acquiring skin

Some forms of cancer are associated with sunburn, while other forms are not. Melanoma skin
cancer is a form that sunburns may play a leading role in. Jan van der Leun, a Dutch scientist,
explains that, ?light hitting the outer layer of the skin, the epidermis, triggers the production of some
substances which diffuse into the dermis below. The dermis is filled with blood vessels, and the
chemical substances cause them to dilate, making the skin red and warm to the touch? (Nilsson,

The bottom line is that UV ray exposure increases the risk of skin cancer. However, controversy lies
around the question of whether or not the depletion of the ozone layer will lead to more sunburns,
and in turn, more skin cancer. Some scientists suggest that the skin will gradually adapt to higher
UV-B levels as the ozone gradually depletes (Nilsson, 83). The opponent to this theory would state
that the thinning of the ozone layer would lead to more human UV-B exposure. This increased UV-B
exposure would, in turn, increase the damage to the DNA making it difficult for the cell to correct the
damage before it divides. This damage accumulates over time and increases the chances that a cell
will turn cancerous. In addition, since UV-B radiation damages the immune system, it is much more
likely that a cell will turn cancerous. ?

In animal studies, immunosuppressive effects caused by UV-B have indeed been shown to play an
important role in the outcome of both melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers? (Nilsson, 105).
Furthermore, Nilsson (81) states that ?for the non-melanoma skin cancers, the evidence is
compelling and there are estimates that each percentage decrease in the stratospheric ozone will
lead to a two percent increase in the incidence of these cancers.? Thus, if the ozone depletes by ten
percent over a certain time period, 250,000 more people would be affected by these cancers each
year (Nilsson, 81). Due to controversy in the scientific community, it is difficult to clearly state
whether or not ozone depletion will lead to an increased risk of skin cancers, but scientists agree on
the fact that UV-B radiation plays a large role in the formation of cancer.

Thus, it may very well be that as the UV filter. we call the ozone layer thins, the increased amount of
UV-B radiation posed on human skin may contribute to an increased amount of skin cancer. Yet,
one can only weigh all the evidence and speculate, for science has yet to provide a cut and dry
answer for society to base its judgments on.

Ozone depletion and immuno-suppression
Ozone depletion is also suggested to cause immuno-suppression. This theory was first explored in
the 1960s when guinea-pigs, who were exposed to an allergen, showed a lowered immune system
response after they had been irradiated with UV (Nilsson, 101). In addition, another study showed
that UV radiation had the same effect on animals as X-ray treatment and chemical immuno-
suppression. Logically, all three factors suppressed the immune system. Scientists Edward de Fabo
and Frances Noonan conducted a study to investigate exactly which portion of the UV spectrum has
the power to suppress the immune system.

In this experiment, de Fabo and Noonan employed filters that were able to separate UV radiation
wavelength by wavelength. They subjected mice to UV rays and measured the effects at precise
intervals on the UV range. When de Fabo and Noonan started to match the parts of the spectrum
that gave the most immuno-suppression with the absorption spectra of different compounds in the
skin, they found an almost perfect match.UCA, the compound previously thought of as sunscreen
(Nilsson, 102). Nilsson (107) describes urocanic acid (UCA) as antenna-like because it attracts UV
rays. When UV radiation hits the skin, it causes UCA within the skin to change molecular structure
from trans-UCA to cis-UCA. This transformation interacts with a number of cells in the skin and
sends a signal to the immune system, causing it to hinder its reaction. If the UVA has caused
damage to the DNA, then the possibility exists for a cancer growth (See Figure 8).

Figure 8: UV radiation causes the transformation of trans-UCA to the form cis-UCA, damaging DNA
and causing the immune system to suppress. Source: Nilsson, 1996 Although there is clear
evidence supporting the fact that cumulative UV-B exposure leads to immuno-suppression, it is
difficult to determine whether people will get ill because of ozone depletion. Logically, thinning of the
ozone layer leads to increased exposure to UV-B radiation, which in turn leads to increased chances
of immuno-suppression, but scientists cannot form an answer based solely on that information.
Despite the fact that there is not a clear answer, in viewing and studying the data, science suggests
that there is the possibility of increased illness as a result of the thinning ozone layer.
What about other illnesses?
Like immuno-suppression and skin cancer, science is not able to provide society with a confident answer
to the question: Will the depletion of the ozone layer cause an increased number of cataract cases?
Cataracts are a condition that begin with blurry vision and in some cases, develop into blindness. It has
been proven that UV light can damage the DNA, membranes, and proteins in the eye, and in animal
studies, this damage has resulted in scattered light and the formation of opaque areas in the eye.

It was estimated by the Environmental Effects Panel of the United Nations Environment Programme that
for each percent decrease in ozone, the number of people developing blindness would increase by
approximately 100,000 to 150,000 people (Nilsson, 113). However, this estimation was contradicted by a
team of Dutch scientists, who stated, ?it is not scientifically justifiable to quantify the effects of UV
radiation on the eye, if such effects are present under normal circumstances? (Nilsson, 113). The UNEP
then published an updated statement and included information that poor diet and diseases, such as
diabetes, also contribute to cataract development.

Thus, it must be recognized that cataracts can result from poor nutrition, poor hygiene, and diabetes, and
not solely from increased UV radiation. Research has been conducted to investigate a link between
cataracts and UV radiation. Some epidemiological studies have shown that UV-B radiation and formation
of cataracts do have a positive relationship. For example, a study conducted with Chesapeake Bay
fishermen asked these fishermen to disclose whether or not they wore sunglasses while working and
during outdoor recreational activities. Then, radiation measurements were taken throughout the area to
probe for a correlation.
The results of this study showed a weak positive dose-response relationship with UV-B exposure?
(Nilsson, 117). Thus, in this study, one would argue that increased UV radiation would lead to increased
rates of cataracts. Many other studies have been conducted to examine this phenomenon, and none
have shown a strongly correlated causal relationship between UV-B and cataracts, but many suggest the
possibility of a relationship. In summary, there is again no cut and dry answer explaining what will happen
to the number of cases of cataracts as the ozone layer depletes, but when one examines the effects of
UV-B radiation on the eyes, it is suggested that ozone depletion is likely to increase one‘s risk of
developing cataracts.

A short-term health problem that will increase as the level of ozone decreases is snowblindness or
welder‘s arc flash. This phenomenon is a result of sunburn of the conjunctiva and cornea and is
characterized by blurred vision, severe pain, photophobia, profuse tearing, and eyelid spasms
(, 1998). The condition occurs after exposure to UV-B radiation and does not result in
permanent damage. The symptoms usually vanish after a few days. It is obvious to recognize the
controversy surrounding theories which state that depletion of the ozone layer causes health problems.
While one resource may provide the reader with one answer, the next source may provide the opposite
theory. It is evident that UV radiation causes various health problems, but what is not so clear is to what
degree a depleting ozone layer will magnify the occurrence of these problems.
Ozone depletion: Not a farmer’s best friend.
Another common, yet, highly debated concern with regards to the depleting ozone layer is crop and plant
damage. As it has been well stressed, depletion of the ozone layer results in higher UV-B radiation on the
earth‘s surface. Ironically, while plants use light as their main fuel for growth, a delicate balance must be
achieved in order for the plant to survive. If a plant is exposed to too much UV radiation, the DNA of the
plant may become damaged due to penetration of harmful UV radiation into sensitive areas of the plant.

UV radiation also causes problems in the photosynthetic machinery by hampering the photosynthesis
process, the cell membrane by altering the transportation of essential potassium, and the cell‘s skeleton
by affecting cell growth and morphology. With this information taken into account, it would seem logical
that increased UV radiation from the depleting ozone layer would lead to plant damage. However, it is not
that simple.

Some plants actually employ a mechanism that allows them to protect themselves from UV damage.
Thus, research suggests that if ozone depletion became serious enough, the plants without the protective
mechanisms would die out, but the plants with these mechanisms would be able to replace the extinct
plants, and not affect the level of productivity in the ecosystem (Nilsson, 54). Thus, much depends on
which plants survive. To further investigate the affect of UV radiation on plants, experiments have been
done to study the effects of UV-B levels on crop yield (Nilsson, 52). The results concluded that in
approximately 50% of the crops, an increased UV-B level lead to a decrease in crop yield. Specifically,
the corn yield was reduced by 28 percent; and beans, squash, and various forms of peas were also found
to be sensitive to UV-B radiation.

One would logically conclude that the depletion of the ozone layer would lead to a reduction in the yield of
crops. However, science may offer a solution by being able to breed crops that are resistant to UV
radiation. The answer to the question of decreased crop yield and existence of plants as a result of a
thinning ozone layer is not scientifically definitive. However, it is important because if the ability of plants
to intake carbon dioxide and regulate the amount of carbon dioxide in the air is altered, the consequences
for society are detrimental.
Collaborative Global Government Efforts
As a result of the many concerns that a thinning ozone layer poses to society and the environment,
the U.S. government and many international agencies have been relatively active in attempting to
monitor, regulate, and solve the problem. Perhaps the most well known acts to help control the
depletion of the ozone layer were the Montreal Protocol, and the London Ozone amendment to the
Montreal Protocol. On September 14, 1987, delegates from 43 countries met to discuss threats of
the thinning ozone layer. After much discussion, the delegates agreed to halt production and
consumption of CFCs at 1986 levels by the year 1990. In addition, nations also agreed to reduce CFCs
20 percent by January 1, 1994 and an additional 30 percent by January 1, 1999 (Roan, 208-9).

This was known as the Montreal Protocol. Even though this protocol helped the state of the ozone layer,
the results were not significant enough. Thus, shortly after the implementation of the protocol, in 1990, it
was amended. This amendment recruited more countries, bringing the total number involved to almost
100. The new goals were to eliminate the use of all CFCs by the year 2000, and to help set up a fund so
that developing countries may find alternates to using CFCs. The name of this amendment was the
London Ozone Agreement. Thus, many nations recognized the need for rapid and dramatic action in
fighting the war with CFC responsible ozone depletion.

Regardless of the details of the arguments, it is obvious that the depletion of the ozone layer is a serious
problem that poses many consequences to society. Although scientific controversy exists, the possibility
seems high that the depletion of the ozone layer will prove detrimental if action is not taken. For example,
research shows the strong possibility of a number of health risks associated with increased UV-B
exposure as a direct result of the thinning ozone layer.

These health risks include skin cancer, immuno-suppression, cataracts, and snowblindness.Furthermore,
the possibility that increased UV-B radiation results in lower crop yields should provide a ?wake up? call
to those who feel the thinning ozone layer is not a problem. For if we are not able to breed UV-B resistant
plants, the world‘s food supply would become dramatically decreased, resulting in higher levels of famine
and malnutrition. Studies from Antarctica tell society that increased UV radiation can directly affect the
food chain. Recall the decrease in food supply as a result of reduced levels of photoplankton in

This may seem like an isolated, non-significant, and remote problem; however, this incident illustrates the
dangers of reduced food supply and alteration of the food chain as a result of the thinning ozone layer.
Even though the photoplankton were located at the bottom of the food chain, the whole chain was
affected. In the future, problems like this could potentially affect the global food web and result in an
overall decrease in food supply. Thus, realize that the dangers posed by ozone depletion are real now,
and will be in the future, if action is not taken.

Take Action: Teamwork does the trick
Although the earth will be able to heal itself if the CFC level continues to stay as it is, the depletion of
the ozone layer is still a problem that society should be concerned with. In order for earth to repair
the damage humans have posed on the ozone layer, society must take an active role. There are
many tasks individuals can involve themselves in to help combat the problem of ozone depletion.
First of all, one can simply check product labels for ozone friendly status. Many companies have
gone to great lengths to remove CFCs from their products.

These products do not do as much damage to the ozone layer, and thus, are denoted as ozone
friendly. A collaborative effort by society not using products with CFCs is a major step toward the
healing of the ozone layer. Unfortunately, many products still used in society are detrimental to the
ozone layer. For example, CFCs marketed under the trade name Freon are used in appliances with
refrigerants such as refrigerators and air conditioners. When individuals must dispose of products
with refrigerants in them, certain actions must be taken in order to prevent the CFCs from escaping
from the disposed product.

For example, when an agency, such as a waste hauling company, comes to pick up the unwanted
appliance, check to make sure refrigerant-recovery equipment is used by the agency. This
equipment allows for the disposal of refrigerants without damage to the ozone layer. Society can
also help the problem of ozone depletion through education, as well as through various donations. If
individuals contribute time or money to environmental agencies focused on healing the ozone layer,
the agencies will be able to organize activities promoting the understanding of the ozone problem. If
society is educated through these means, more individual efforts will be taken to make ozone smart
decisions such as using ozone friendly products. Although thinning ozone may not directly affect the
generation growing up today, future generations depend on the actions taken now. Thus, it is important
for society to recognize that the thinning ozone layer is a problem and to take action in order to ensure
the safety and survival of future generations.

The ozone layer is essential for protecting society from harmful UV radiation by acting as a filter.
However, this protective layer has been thinning due to three main sources: human activity, natural
sources, and volcanoes. Human activity is responsible for the most damage to the ozone layer, thus,
society should recognize that much can be done to prevent ozone layer damage. In 1985, in a region
over Antarctica, the yearly polar vortex had caused the ozone layer to deplete so greatly, that it could be
classified as a hole. In 1996, this hole was large enough to cover Antarctica. The depletion of the ozone
layer does not come without problems.

Scientific research has suggested the probability that increased UV-B radiation as a result of the thinning
ozone layer leads to increased cases of skin cancer, immuno-suppression, cataracts, and snowblindness
due to radiation damage of the DNA. Additionally, experiments have shown a correlation between
increased UV radiation and crop damage due to UV radiation damaging the plants DNA. Some scientists,
however, feel that this will not be a problem in the future due to the possibility of breeding UV resistant
crops and plants.

Many national governments and agencies recognized the problem of ozone depletion, and therefore,
united in 1987 to sign the Montreal Protocol. This agreement was implemented to decrease CFC levels in
order to help protect the thinning ozone layer. Clearly, ozone depletion is a dangerous problem due to
possible disease outbreaks and famine as a result of increased UV-B radiation. However, society can
collectively attempt to combat this problem by relatively simple means such as education and the practice
of ozone smart behavior. For if society acts now, future generations will be handed a safe and healthy

Aerosol: A gas bearing another substance.
Allergen: An overreaction to an antigen in amounts that do not affect most people; often involves IgE
Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC): A chemical compound of one fluorine atom, one carbon atom, and three
chlorine atoms. These molecules are very stable and contribute to ozone depletion.
Conjunctiva: The mucous membrane covering the exposed portion of the eyeball.
Cornea: Portion of the eye located at the front of the eyeball, through which light enters the eye.
Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA): The fundamental hereditary material of all living organisms.
Dermis: The thick layer of skin below the epidermis.
Dobson Unit: Unit of measurement used to measure thickness of ozone layer at STP.
Electromagnetic Spectrum: Visible light that fits between ultraviolet and infrared radiation in the
Epidermis: In plants and animals, the epidermis is the outermost cell layer. (Only one cell layer thick in
Malaria: A disease caused by a parasitic protozoan transferred to the human bloodstream by a mosquito.
Malignant: Another term for cancerous.
Montreal Protocol: This agreement between many foreign nations aims to reduce and eventually
eliminate the emissions of man-made ozone depleting substances.
Ozone: This molecule, consisting of three oxygen atoms, is formed in the stratosphere when sunlight hits
an oxygen molecule.
Ozone Hole: The extreme thinning of the ozone layer over Antarctica. The ozone hole is unique to
Antarctica because of the polar vortex.
Ozone Layer: The area in the stratosphere where most of the earth's ozone is located which is
usually between 20 and 30 kilometers above the earth's surface.
Photosynthesis: Metabolic processes, carried out by green plants, by which visible light is trapped and
energy is used to synthesize compounds such as ATP and glucose.
Polar Vortex: Field measurements in and theoretical studies of the Antarctic stratosphere have
demonstrated that processes that occur in the wintertime engender chemical transformations that lead to
the formation of the springtime ozone hole over the Antarctic continent.
Radiation: The process by which energy is emitted as particles or waves.
Standard Temperature and Pressure (STP): The reference conditions for gases chosen by convention
to be 0 degrees Celsius and 1 unit of atmospheric pressure.
Stratosphere: The area of the earth's atmosphere directly above the troposphere. The stratosphere
makes up about 10% of the atmospheric mass.
Urocanic acid: A compound in the skin that changes forms when it comes in contact with UV radiation.
This transformation can lead to immuno-suppression.
UV-B Radiation: A harmful form of ultraviolet radiation with a wavelength of between 280 and 320
nanometers that is usually filtered out by the ozone layer. UV-B is the main cause of skin cancer.
Wavelength: The distance between any two adjacent identical points of a wave.
        Generally speaking, „pollution‟ is the release of matter into a medium (such as water, air or soil)
        where such release harms or may harm the quality of that medium or the health or survival of any
        plant or animal living within it.

        Pollution generally includes air, water, land and noise pollution.
        Pollution is the introduction of pollutants (whether chemical substances, or energy (noise, heat,
        light, etc) into the environment which result in deleterious effects of such a nature as to endanger
        human health, harm living resources and ecosystems, and impair or interfere with amenities and
        other legitimate uses of the environment.
        Pollution control
        Pollution control is a term used in environmental management. It means the control of
        emissions and effluents into air, water or soil. Without pollution controls the undesirable waste
        products from human consumption, industrial production, agricultural activities, mining,
        transportation and other sources will accumulate or disperse and degrade the natural
        environment. In the hierarchy of controls, pollution prevention and waste minimisation are more
        desirable than pollution control.

        Pollution control devices
               Dust collection systems
    o                   Cyclones
    o                   Electrostatic precipitators
    o                   Baghouses
               Scrubbers
    o                   Baffle spray scrubber
    o                   Cyclonic spray scrubber
    o                   Ejector venturi scrubber
    o                   Mechanically aided scrubber
    o                   Spray tower
    o                   Wet scrubber
               Sewage treatment and Wastewater treatment
    o                   API oil-water separators[2][3]
    o                   Sedimentation (water treatment)
    o                   Dissolved air flotation (DAF)
    o                   Activated sludge biotreaters
    o                   Biofilters
    o                   Powdered activated carbon treatment
                Vapor recovery systems

    Major forms of pollution and major polluted areas
    Water pollution
    The major forms of pollution are listed below along with the particular pollutants relevant to each
    of them:

            Air pollution, the release of chemicals and particulates into the atmosphere. Common
    examples include carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), and nitrogen
    oxides produced by industry and motor vehicles. Photochemical ozone and smog are created as
    nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons react to sunlight.
            Water pollution via surface runoff, leaching to groundwater, liquid spills, wastewater
    discharges, eutrophication and littering.
            Soil contamination occurs when chemicals are released by spill or underground storage
    tank leakage. Among the most significant soil contaminants are hydrocarbons, heavy metals,
    MTBE[4], herbicides, pesticides and chlorinated hydrocarbons.
            Radioactive contamination, added in the wake of 20th-century discoveries in atomic
    physics. (See alpha emitters and actinides in the environment.)
            Noise pollution, which encompasses roadway noise, aircraft noise, industrial noise as
    well as high-intensity sonar.
            Light pollution, includes light trespass, over-illumination and astronomical interference.
            Visual pollution, which can refer to the presence of overhead power lines, motorway
    billboards, scarred landforms (as from strip mining), open storage of trash or municipal solid
            Thermal pollution, is a temperature change in natural water bodies caused by human
    influence, such as use of water as coolant in a power plant.

    Major polluted areas
    The Blacksmith Institute issues annually a list of the world's worst polluted places. In the 2007
    issues the ten top nominees are located in Azerbaijan, China, India, Peru, Russia, Ukraine and

    Sources and causes
    Motor vehicle emissions are one of the leading causes of air pollution.[5][6][7] China, United
    States, Russia, Mexico, and Japan are the world leaders in air pollution emissions; however,
    Canada is the number two country, ranked per capita. Principal stationary pollution sources
    include chemical plants, coal-fired power plants, oil refineries,[3] petrochemical plants, nuclear
    waste disposal activity, incinerators, large livestock farms (dairy cows, pigs, poultry, etc.), PVC
    factories, metals production factories, plastics factories, and other heavy industry.

    Some of the more common soil contaminants are chlorinated hydrocarbons (CFH), heavy metals
    (such as chromium, cadmium--found in rechargeable batteries, and lead--found in lead paint,
    aviation fuel and still in some countries, gasoline), MTBE, zinc, arsenic and benzene. Ordinary
    municipal landfills are the source of many chemical substances entering the soil environment
    (and often groundwater), emanating from the wide variety of refuse accepted, especially
    substances illegally discarded there, or from pre-1970 landfills that may have been subject to little
     control in the U.S. or EU.
     Pollution can also be the consequence of a natural disaster. For example, hurricanes often
     involve water contamination from sewage, and petrochemical spills from ruptured boats or
     automobiles. Larger scale and environmental damage is not uncommon when coastal oil rigs or
     refineries are involved. Some sources of pollution, such as nuclear power plants or oil tankers,
     can produce widespread and potentially hazardous releases when accidents occur.
     In the case of noise pollution the dominant source class is the motor vehicle, producing about
     ninety percent of all unwanted noise worldwide.

     Effects on Human health
     Adverse air quality can kill many organisms including humans. Ozone pollution can cause
     respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease, throat inflammation, chest pain, and congestion.
     Water pollution causes approximately 14,000 deaths per day, mostly due to contamination of
     drinking water by untreated sewage in developing countries. Oil spills can cause skin irritations
     and rashes. Noise pollution induces hearing loss, high blood pressure, stress, and sleep

            Sulfur dioxide and oxides of nitrogen can cause acid rain which reduces the pH value of
            Soil can become infertile and unsuitable for plants. This will affect other organisms in the
     food web.
            Smog and haze can reduce the amount of sunlight received by plants to carry out
            Invasive species can out compete native species and reduce biodiversity. Invasive plants
     can contribute debris and biomolecules (allelopathy) that can alter soil and chemical compositions
     of an environment, often reducing native species competitiveness.
            Biomagnification describes a situation where toxins may be pass through trophic levels,
     becoming exponentially more concentrated in the process.

     Pollution Control

     Pollution is the addition to the ecosystem of someting which has a detrimental effect on it. One of
     the most important causes of pollution is the high rate of energy usage by modern, growing

     Different kinds of pollution are found.

1.           Air Pollution.
2.           Water Pollution.
3.           Land Pollution.

                                               Air Pollution
    Air pollution is the accumulation in the atmosphere of substances that, in sufficient
    concentrations, endanger human health or produce other measured effects on living matter and
    other materials. Among the major sources of pollution are power and heat generation, the burning
    of solid wastes, industrial processes, and, especially, transportation. The six major types of
    pollutants are carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides, particulates, sulfur dioxide, and
    photochemical oxidants.
    Examples of Air Pollution
            Noise Pollution
    Noise pollution or unwanted sounds that are carried by the air, have an irritating and
    detrimental effect on humans and other animals. Careful planning of streets and biuldings
    in towns and better control over noisy vechiles may add to the control of noise pollution.
            Tobacco Smoke
    Tobacco smoke is one of the major forms of pollution in buildings. It is not only the
    smoker who is infected, but everyone who inhales the polluted air. There is a very strong
    connection between smoking and lung cancer. Bronchitis is common among smokers and
    unborn babies of mothers who smoke also suffer from the harmful effects of smoking.
            Exhaust Gases of Vehicles
    ollution from exhaust gases of vehicles is reponsible for 60% of all air pollution and in
    cities up to 80%. There is a large variety of harmful chemicals present in these gases, with
    lead being one of the most dangerous.
            Combustion of Coal
    The cobustion of caol without special precautions can have serious consequences. If
    winds do not blow away the poisonous gases, they can have fatal effects and may lead to
            Acid rain
    Acid rain is the term for pollution caused when sulfur and nitrogen dioxides combine with
    atmospheric moisture to produce highly acidic rain, snow, hail, or fog. The acid eats into
    the stone, brick and metal articles and pollutes water sources. Coal in South Africa is rich
    in sulphur and the power stations in the Mpumalanga Province could be reponsible for
    acid rain over other areas of our country.
    Control Measures

    Although individual people can help to combat air pollution in their own immediate
    environment, efficient control can be best achieved by legislation. Some commonly
    enforced control measures include
          the establishment of more smokeless zones;
          control over the kinds of fuel used in cars, aeroplanes, power stations, etc.

    Water Pollution
    Water pollution is the introduction into fresh or ocean waters of chemical, physical, or
    biological material that degrades the quality of the water and affects the organisms living
    in it. This process ranges from simple addition of dissolved or suspended solids to
    discharge of the most insidious and persistent toxic pollutants (such as pesticides, heavy
    metals, and nondegradable, bioaccumulative, chemical compounds).

    Examples of Water Pollution
          Industrial affluents
    Water is discharged from after having been used in production processes. This waste
    water may contain acids, alkalis, salts, poisons, oils and in some cases harmful bacteria.
           Mining and Agricultural Wastes
    Mines, especially gold and coal mines, are responsible for large quatities of acid water.
    Agricultural pesticides, fertilisers and herbicides may wash into rivers and stagnant water
         Sewage Disposal and Domestic Wastes
    Sewage as wel as domestic and farm wastes were often allowed to pollute rivers and

    Control Measures

    The following measures can be used to stop water pollution:
           every intelligent people should be wise enough not to pollute water in any way;
           by research and legislation the pollution of water bodies, even though not entirely
    prevented, must be effectively controlled.

    Land Pollution
    Land pollution is the degradation of the Earth's land surface through misuse of the soil by
    poor agricultural practices, mineral exploitation, industrial waste dumping, and
    indiscriminate disposal of urban wastes. It includes visible waste and litter as well as
    pollution of the soil itself.
    Examples of Land Pollution

    Soil Pollution
    Soil pollution is mainly due to chemicals in herbicides (weed killers) and pesticides
    (poisons which kill insects and other invertebrate pests). Litter is waste material dumped
    in public places such as streets, parks, picnic areas, at bus stops and near shops.
    Waste Disposal
    The accumulation of waste threatens the health of people in residential areas. Waste
    decays, encourages household pests and turns urban areas into unsightly, dirty and
    unhealthy places to live in.
    Control Measures

    The following measures can be used to control land pollution:

          anti-litter campaigns can educate people against littering;
          organic waste can be dumped in places far from residential areas;
          inorganic materials such as metals, glass and plastic, but also paper, can be
    reclaimed and recycled.

    Principles of eco-balance
    An eco-balance refers to the consumption of energy and resources and the pollution caused by
    the production cycle of a given product. The product is followed throughout its entire life cycle,
    from the extraction of the raw materials, manufacturing and use, right through to recycling and
    final handling of waste.(Source: DUNI)


    The concept of eco-efficiency involves the better utilisation of resources with reduced
    environmental impact. The World Business Council for Sustainable Development
    (WBCSD), of which Roche has been a member ever since it was founded, has
    identified the following factors in this connection:
            reducing material intensity
            reducing energy intensity
            reducing waste and emissions
            increasing recycling
            using renewable resources
            improving product life
            increasing dematerialisation, i.e. increasing the proportion of services and
    reducing consumption of resources
    When it comes to improving eco-efficiency, a pharmaceutical company like Roche will
    primarily focus on reducing the material and energy consumption of processes,
    reducing quantities of waste and using renewable resources, in addition to increasing
    levels of non-material services.

    Roche quantifies eco-efficiency by the EER value (Eco-Efficiency Rate), a metric
    which it created itself. This index relates the sales achieved to expenditure on
    environmental protection and the environmental impact of Roche's activities. This
    impact corresponds to the appropriately weighted total of the pollutants listed below:

    Substance                                                      Weighting
    CO2                                                            1
    Halogenated hydrocarbons                                       14,000
    NOx                                                            4,154
    SO2                                                            4,154
    VOC                                                            4,154
    TOC                                                            82
    Heavy metals                                                   16,341
    Chemical waste                                                 1

    The EER value is the ratio of sales to the product of environmental spending and
    environmental impact: the more efficiently business activity (sales) is increased while
    expenditure on environmental protection is limited and environmental harm reduced,
    the higher is the EER value and thus eco-efficiency.

    With a few fluctuations as a result of changes in the business environment due to
    take-overs or relocation of activities, this value has undergone continuous
    improvement over the years.

    Year 1997 1998        1999     2000    2001     2002    2003 2004       2005    2006
    EER 4.9   10.37       18.67    21.08   26.85    28.96   38.5 18.31      24.39   49.97

    The discontinuous trend since 2003 is a reflection of the changes in the system
    boundaries for collecting key figures. The contributions made by our affiliates
    Genentech and Chugai have been included since 2004. Energy consumption and
    greenhouse gas emissions take account of the corporate vehicle fleet and business
    travel, and imported energy such as electricity has likewise been assigned a CO2
    emission factor.

    The strong increase of the EER value in 2006 is due to both the reduction of
    environmental impacts and the pleasing development of the sales. Main emitters of
    VOC‘s and TOC have overreported emissions in the past. Following corrections have
    reduced the figure for environmental impacts accordingly. A further contribution is
    provided by the decreasing energy consumption, linked to reduced emissions of
    greenhouse gases, nitrogen oxides and sulphur dioxide.


    The ecobalance is providing a view on the environmental impacts of our activities
without considering economical parameters. According to the method set out by the
Swiss Agency for the Environment (BAFU) environmental impact points are allocated
to ecologically relevant parameters such as emissions, waste, energy- and raw
materials consumption. The individual contributions are added and related to the
number of employees to give the environmental impact per employee. In the reporting
year this was 5.42 Mio impact points per employee compared with 6.58 Mio in the
previous year.

Protection of ozone layer

Ozone Layer
What is the ozone layer?
Ozone (O3) is a colourless gas that is a close chemical relative of molecular oxygen (O2). Most of
the ozone in the atmosphere is found in a layer between 15 and 35 km above the earth surface in
a region of the atmosphere known as the stratosphere.

The ozone layer is beneficial to life on earth as it absorbs the harmful ultra violet (UV) radiation
from the sun. In contrast, ozone at ground level, although it also absorbs some UV, is harmful to
living organisms. Ground level ozone is produced by sunlight acting on motor vehicle exhaust
gases and is a key component of urban smog.

In recent years, a large "hole" in the ozone layer has opened over the Antarctic each spring, and
a similar, but smaller depletion has been observed over the Arctic. A thinning of the ozone layer
over mid-latitudes has also been recorded. The ozone layer over southern Canada has thinned
by an average of about six per cent since the late 1970s, when human activities first began to
affect the upper atmosphere.

Science: the key to understanding
The ozone layer is invisible. Changes in it cannot be seen by the eye. Only through science can
we understand what is happening to this fragile layer of gases in the upper atmosphere.
Scientists first predicted the ozone depletion problem in the 1970s, and then later detected the
problem in the mid-1980s. They are now tracking changes both in the ozone layer itself and in the
amount of ozone-depleting chemicals in the atmosphere. Science, too, will ultimately determine
the effectiveness of our efforts to slow or reverse ozone depletion.

Scientific research has also explained the cause of ozone depletion - the release of certain
industrial chemicals into the atmosphere, particularly CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) and halons -
and provided guidance for policy makers as to how these substances should be reduced. The
Montreal Protocol, an international agreement to protect the ozone layer, is a commitment by
governments around the world to heed the warnings of science and to act to reduce the
chemicals which are depleting the ozone layer.

Finally, scientific research is providing information about the impacts of ozone depletion, and on
how best to adapt to changing ozone levels - for instance, by reforesting logged areas with trees
that are less sensitive to UV in order to increase their chances of survival.

Canada has made a major contribution to global ozone science, both by monitoring ozone levels,
and by conducting research into the causes and impacts of ozone depletion. Canadian research
into the ozone layer began in the 1930s, as an effort to understand the ozone layer's potential
benefit to weather forecasting. This research was strengthened in the 1980s, when decreases in
ozone levels were first observed.

In 1987, Canada became the first country in the world to focus on the Arctic ozone layer,
following the discovery of the ozone hole over the Antarctic. In 1993, Environment Canada
scientists completed the first long-term study conclusively showing that the thinning of the
stratospheric ozone layer has led to an increase in ultraviolet levels at the earth's surface. As
well, Environment Canada scientists developed the Brewer Ozone Spectrophotometer, a state-of-
the-art scientific instrument. Recognized as the world's most accurate ozone-measuring
instrument, it is now in use in more than 35 countries.

Environment Canada operates a network of cross-country monitoring stations which has kept
continuous watch on Canada's ozone layer for more than three decades. The early records,
which were taken before any major human influence on the ozone layer, are vital to
understanding the changes that are occurring today. These observations form part of the World
Ozone Data Centre, an international archive which has been maintained by Environment Canada,
on behalf of the United Nations' World Meteorological Organization, since 1961.

Canadian scientists use a variety of techniques to keep tabs on the ozone layer, including high-
altitude research balloons, satellite measurements and ground-based instruments. Two Canadian
astronauts, Marc Garneau and Steve MacLean, have even used Canadian instruments to take
readings of the ozone layer from inside the space shuttle.

Impacts of Ozone Depletion
The thinning off the earth's ozone layer has allowed greater amounts of skin-burning UV radiation
from the sun to reach the earth. Increased exposure to UV has been shown to harm human
health, damage freshwater and marine ecosystems, reduce crop yields, and affect forests.
The most basic impact for humans is the increase in skin cancers. Over-exposure to the sun's UV
rays can also cause eye damage, including cataracts, and may even weaken the immune

Increased UV levels will also have an impact on agriculture, including many of the world's major
food crops. It has been observed that some crops, such as barley and oats, have shown
decreased growth as a result of exposure to increased UV radiation.

In marine ecosystems, UV can damage the tiny single-celled plants, known as phytoplankton,
which form the base of the food chain. Decreases in the food source at this early stage, may have
effects throughout the entire system, and could ultimately affect fish populations.

Increased UV levels also reduce the lifetime of construction materials used outdoors, particularly
the plastics that are prevalent in our homes, playgrounds, and other structures.

Agricultural and forestry studies have been made on the sensitivity of Canadian trees and crops
to UV levels. One study found a 10% increase in UV would result in losses of $192 million per
year to sensitive crops, such as canola, oats, barley and soybeans.

Forestry research found that trees which grow at higher elevations (where UV is naturally
stronger) are more resistant. Studies such as these may help us to adapt to increasing UV levels.

The effects of UV on fresh water lakes and marine ecosystems are complex and poorly
understood. Scientists are finding that northern lakes which are already suffering the effects of
acid rain and climate change are now further stressed by UV levels. In marine ecosystems,
    concerns have been raised over the effects on fisheries, particularly Atlantic cod.

    The effects of UV exposure may be increased during the sudden brief increases which occur in
    the early springtime when ozone levels fall sharply in the annual cycle. Other concerns include
    the long-term effect of many years of exposure to higher UV levels and the effect of UV in
    combination with other stresses on the environment, such as climate change, acid rain and toxic

    Will the Ozone Layer Recover?
    Scientists feel the ozone layer should recover, if ozone-depleting substances are eliminated.
    Under the Montreal Protocol, an international agreement to protect the ozone layer, action has
    been taken to reduce ozone-depleting substances. The build-up of the most significant CFCs in
    the lower atmosphere has slowed considerably, and one of the key chemicals, CFC-11, is now

    Because of the time it takes for these chemicals to move from ground level to the stratosphere,
    the impact of the Montreal Protocol will not be felt for many years. It is estimated that the ozone
    layer should recover by about 2050 - providing that all human-made ozone-depleting substances
    are eliminated. However, long-term predictions are uncertain because the processes of ozone
    depletion are not all understood. As well, global warming and the exhaust from high-flying aircraft
    may significantly affect the recovery of the ozone layer

    What is the Ozone Layer Protection (Products Containing
    Scheduled Substances) (Import Banning) Regulation about? This Regulation prohibits the
    import of products containing CFCs and halons from countries which are not Parties to the
    Montreal Protocol:
           an air-conditioner or heat pump designed to cool the driver's or passengers' compartment
    of a motor vehicle (whether or not installed in the motor vehicle);
           refrigeration equipment or air-conditioning or heat pump equipment (whether for domestic
    or commercial use);
           an aerosol product other than an aerosol product containing a pharmaceutical product or
    medicine as defined in section 2 of the Pharmacy and Poisons Ordinance (Cap. 138);
           insulation panel, insulation board or insulation pipe cover;
           a pre-polymer;
           portable fire extinguishers containing halon FROM ANY COUNTRIES

    Role of science and technology in development.
    Objectives        The main role and importance of science and technology (S&T) is fundamental
    for social and economic progress in developing countries; for example in the following themes:

           industries and scientific research;
           making S&T relevant to society;
           highlights of research results on mathematics, agriculture, environment, health sciences,
    natural and applied sciences;
           female participation in S&T;
           youth involvement in S&T; and
           dissemination and utilisation of scientific results.

    The role of science and technology in a future society may be broadly stated as one of meeting
    felt needs by technological innovation and scientific advancement and of realizing long-term
    national goals for the next century.
These goals fall under the following six headings:

To ensure national security and social stability:
For a resource-poor countries, conserving energy and oil-substitutable energy is vital. Food
technology is similarly important to maintain social stability. Science and technology are
expected to play a vitally important role in ensuring national security and social stability.

To sustain the growth of the national economy and to improve its
In the past, technological progress made only a minor contribution to the growth of national
income, and this should be changed. Furthermore, the technological gap with developed
countries should be reduced in certain strategically selected areas.

To improve the quality of life:
Technology in areas of public health such as disease control, medicine and medical
electronics needs to be developed. Another area is the protection of the environment for
better dwelling conditions on the one hand, and for increased productivity of the land on the
Development of information technology directly related to daily living, it should be noted, will
increase social benefits, and this in turn will help reduce urbanization. The preference for
urban living will disappear with the development of an information system on a nationwide
To create a new culture suitable for the new society:
A conflict between traditional cultural values and progressive contemporary values has
existed in Korean society during the recent process of industrialization. A national consensus
should be created for the development of science and technology. Another far-reaching goal
of science and technology is the creation of a new culture for the next century.
Long-term goal of S&T development:
The long-term goal of science and technology should be in accordance with that of national
development. The national development goal is stated as achieving equal ranking with the
developed countries by becoming the world's fifteenth in terms of GNP and the tenth in terms of
trade volume. To compensate for the country's paucity of natural resources, the necessary goal
for S&T is to become no. 10 in the world in the area of industrial technology.

Because of the limitation in available resources, priority areas should be established through
consideration of, among other things, national needs and comparative advantage.

The role of S&T is to lead national development and to support socio-economic needs.
The priority areas that have been identified are:
- Development of electronics, information, and communication technologies.
- Development of selected high technologies to lead the industrial structure adjustment.
- Development of key technologies to increase the international competitiveness of existing
Korean industries.
- Development of technologies related to resources, energy, and food for social and economic
- Development of technology in the area of health care, environmental protection, and social
information systems to improve the quality of life and social benefits.
- Fostering of creative basic research to promote scientific advancement and to expand sources
of technological innovation.
These priority areas were identified using the following basic
            -    Economic return and growth potential in view of limited development resources.
                 - Probability of success in view of development capability and experience.
                 - Indispensability in relation to national security and socio-economic stability.
                 - Industrial and technological linkage.
                 - Future contribution in relation to public welfare and new industrial possibilities.
Solid waste management in India
SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT in India is an emerging and engaging area of study. However,
the picture is often confusing and solutions fuzzy as information available in public domain is
either scanty or scattered. This paper attempts to put together available information and analyse
macro-tissues facing the Indian Techno-managers. Though the core of the paper is built around
urban solid wastes, a comparison with rural wastes is also provided. The comparison serves to
highlight inherent strength of traditional knowledge systems in coping with rural wastes but also
outlines the scope for modern S & T inputs. A separate section also outlines specificities of solid
waste management in the Himalayan region. A series of conclusions and recommendations are
reached after analysing the urban solid waste scenario.

Rural solid wastes
There are various types of wastes in rural areas namely community wastes, wastes from
agricultural and agro-based industries, animal wastes and oil bearing seeds etc. Table 1 provides
estimated annual generation of various types of rural wastes in India (Adapted from Report, 1990)

(1). The community wastes from rural area is estimated at five million tonnes of night soil and 10
million tonnes of refuse. The rural population of 629 million (Census, 1991)

(2) is distributed over nearly half a million villages. This makes for a small population per rural
settlement. Additionally, the population densities are also very low compared to highly urbanized
areas. Due to these reasons, collection and transportation of rural wastes in India is not a
pressing problem. Low overall volumes also do not necessitate institutional structures for its
management. For using as fuel, animal dung is shaped into cakes and dried and stored to be
used for domestic cooking. The excess is also used to make compost for farm applications.
Composting is carried out by accumulating dung, domestic and other wastes in a heap or pit.

Agricultural residues are largely used as animal feed; a small portion is also used as fuel and as
construction material. Percent utilization of rural wastes for various end uses is outlined in Table 2
(Adapted from Report, 1990) (1). It is found that traditional practices of using wastes by way of
fuel, animal feed and farm manure accounts for nearby 90 per cent of all waste utilization. Barely
1.6 per cent of wastes are not being utilized for any useful purpose. It is clear that traditional
methods have been adequate in handling wastes generated. Hence, rural solid wastes do not
constitute a problem area like urban solid wastes.
However, a case for S & T inputs does exist. Technologies such as Improved Chulhas
(wood/dung stoves), Bio-gas from night soil or agro-residues, Biomass Densification, Gasification
and Pyrolysis offer a way to enhance energy efficiencies and ensure efficient utilization of
available resources, in addition to improving quality of life for rural masses. The use of certain
wastes as industrial raw material is limited to only 1.5 per cent. However, a number of possibilities
exist to ensure increased industrial utilization of rural wastes for making value added products.
Rice husk based particle boards, Bagasse based paper, charcoal, packaging material, chemicals
through bio-conversion and industrial fuel are some examples.
Urban solid waste
With industrial progress, growing urban areas and resultant growth in urban solid wastes is a
relatively new phenomenon in contemporary India. During mid-seventies, the per capita solid
waste generation ranged from 150 - 350 gm/day for various Indian cities (Bhide et al. 1975) (3);
whereas in late eighties, it ranged from 320 - 530 gm/day. The urban population is currently about
one-quarter of the total population. It is projected to be nearly one third by end of the century.

The total urban population in 2001 is estimated to be around 330 million from current 218 million.
The class I towns alone account for nearly 60 per cent of all urban population (Census, 1991) (2).
The traditional knowledge systems primarily evolved for rural and dispersed populations have not
coped well with densified living conditions and associated need for basic infrastructure and its
management. Relatively poor management of urban wastes is reflected in degradation of living
environment of urban areas.
Table 3 (Adapted from Report, 1989) (4) presents average per capita solid waste generation and
collection efficiencies data for various categories of towns in India. Whereas the large towns show
distinctly higher per capita waste generation; there is no significant difference between medium
and small towns. The collection efficiencies in small and medium towns lag far behind at nearly
60 per cent compared to those of large towns at > 80 per cent. This points to weak infrastructure
and poor financial status of small and medium towns.
Table 4 (Report, 1991) (5) presents physical characteristics of Indian urban garbage. The figures
presented are on wet basis and the moisture levels can range from 40-70 per cent. The wastes
largely comprise of bio-degradable organics. High moisture and organic content coupled with high
prevailing temperatures make frequent removals necessary. This places additional burden on
already over-strained system. The collection of refuse presents peculiar problems as household
wastes are thrown out indiscriminately. Also due to narrow lanes, collection vehicles can reach
only selected accessible points.

Hence, unskilled labour is used to sweep streets and collect garbage. Though labour rates are
cheap due to large scale manpower deployment and low productivity, the costs are high. It is
estimated that India spends four times as much on sweeping as on refuse collection (Pickford,
1983) (6). Poor motivation of workers, inadequacy of supervisory and management skills at local
government levels are other leading causes of low productivity. The problem needs attention at
appropriate levels.

The cost of collection in India tends to be a very large part of overall solid waste budget. To cite
an example, the city of Ahmedabad with three million population and 1260 tonnes of solid waste
per day, spends 85.8 per cent of its budget on collection, 13.4 per cent on transportation and only
0.8 % on final disposal (Report, 1990) (7). The benefits from present level of expenditure can be
enhanced by following better methods of collection, efficient transportation, appropriate
technology induction, better management practices and motivation of workers.

The three R's of waste management namely Reduce, Recycle and Recover are oft-repeated
phrases in Indian policy circles. However, what is lost sight of is that culturally there is no
propensity to waste. Also, there is a thriving informal sector of recycling. This recycling is
achieved through Kabaris the waste handlers, who go from door to door and collect used bottles,
broken plastics, metals, waste paper etc.

This material is then traded for manufacture of secondary products for which markets exist.
Scavengers foraging through wastes is an unhygienic practice. It still however, contributes to
recycling effort in India. The scavengers act as the second filter after Kabaris have taken
away first batch of useful materials for secondary market. The income from foraging provides
much needed subsistence to poorest of the urban poor. A ban on scavenging on health
grounds may seem like a solution but will only aggravate the problem of basic sustenance.
However, providing facilities such as bathing at the end of day's work to foragers will go a long
way towards improving their health status. This market driven mechanism of segregation at
source is a positive feature of Indian urban waste scenario. There are no figures available to
estimate the volume of waste being processed, as this sector is not documented. The secondary
product market though strong is not regulated. The specifications and quality is often sacrificed
e.g. a lot of mixed plastic waste is reprocessed to make containers etc. These being cheap are
bought readily by the consumers. However, storage of food stuff in these containers can be
harmful for human health. There is a definite need to examine secondary products and to
regulate effectively to safeguard human health.
Like other Asian countries, in India too most of the waste is landfilled. The methods followed are
not in keeping with modern practices of sanitary landfilling. The wastes are largely dumped. This
dumping is normally carried out in low lying areas which are prone to flooding. During rainy
season, possibility of surface water contamination increases due to flooding of these low lying
areas. The ground water pollution though largely unassessed is another threat posed by dumping
of wastes. The daily cover techniques are poor leading to vector problems.

The birds foraging on garbage dumps are known to cause substantial problems for aircrafts
operating in the urban areas. The bird strikes have resulted in a great deal of loss to aviation
sector. This state of affairs results from lack of knowledge and skills on part of local authorities.
Diversion of large part of money to collection and transportation of wastes results in non
availability of funds for disposal activities. This forces local authorities to curtail even known
precautions and practices and use short cut approach.
Composting is a highly suitable option for urban solid wastes in India. High organic content and
moisture make it particularly attractive. Conceptually, the idea of composting is appealing as it
helps to recycle the nutrients back to land. The process, however, requires segregation of inert
material; which is achieved easily due to recycling by Kabaris and scavengers. This option,
hence, appeared ideal in mid-seventies when a number of compost plants were set up in various
cities. Mechanized aerobic composting offered hope for big towns starved of landfill space.

Details of these plants are provided in Table 5 (Report, 1990) (7). The plants were commissioned
during 1977-80 and were operated either by state agro-industries corporations or by municipal
corporations. These plants were expected to provide much awaited answer to growing problem of
urban solid wastes but operational and other problems began to appear. Due to low
skill/managerial inputs the operating efficiencies were low resulting in high cost of production. The
problem was further compounded due to large distances between compost production centres
and the compost utilisation centres, namely the farmlands.

The resulting cost of transportation made marketing even more uneconomical. Farmers also
reported problems with broken glass pieces in the compost. The composting, however, still
remains a strong option for small and medium towns. Semi-mechanized aerobic composting is
ideally suited to waste volumes in these towns. It demands less in terms of operational and
management skills. The product off-take can be good due to close proximity of agricultural areas
to almost all such towns in India. The problem of broken glass can be taken care of by suitable
local legislation to ensure segregation at source.
Incineration is not a total solution for solid wastes. The inert remains still have to be landfilled or
used otherwise. This acts as a volume reduction step. In India, it has not found much use as the
garbage tends to be low in calorific value and volumes are generally low for a central facility. The
technology for incineration is not available indigenously and import options are highly capital
intensive. During 1980s an incineration plant was set up at N. Delhi at a cost of Rs. 220 million or
US$ 6.9 million (May 94). This 300 TPD plant was set up using Danish technology with
assistance from Danida. It was also expected to generate power for local grid. The operational
experience was not satisfactory.

The desired calorific value garbage did not reach the facility as a result of prior segregation due to
market mechanisms and scavengers. Despite apparent failure of this attempt, incineration will
remain an option for future and experience gained in this venture will be useful. In the meanwhile,
incineration on smaller scale with or without energy recovery will continue to be a viable option in
a number of location and waste specific cases such as hospital wastes.
Anaerobic digestion
For high moisture and organic content of Indian wastes, the anaerobic digestion is another
suitable option. However, there are no ready technologies available for processing
heterogeneous material such as urban solid wastes. The existing methods are suited to
homogeneous materials. The costs of cleaning and separating mixed heterogeneous wastes are
likely to be high. A good way to avoid these problems is to intercept suitable wastes at the point
of generation before it is mixed with other wastes. Kitchen and vegetable market wastes are
largely suited for this purpose. These wastes can be collected and treated at source, if space
permits. The resulting bio-gas can be used for captive energy use such as lighting and cooking
etc. Few bio-gas systems are currently available to treat wastes of fruit and vegetable origin
(Nagori et al. 1988) (8). Though currently unfeasible as a large scale option, bio-gas systems can
effectively handle localised and specific wastes and contribute to environment friendly disposal of
Refuse derived fuel (RDF)
This method of waste disposal primarily views waste as a resource. After separation and size
reduction, the combustibles can be pelletized. Integrated Waste Management project at Bombay
attempted to do just that. Due to local conditions, the product off-take and price realization was
estimated to be good. This avoided the earlier problem faced by composting plants. The large
scale processing of garbage was also supposed to slow down exhaustion of landfill space
considerably in the near vicinity of the city; obviating need to spend much larger amounts on
transportation costs.

This pilot technology development effort also offered prospect of totally indigenous and cheap
technology. The cost of 80 TPD plant was Rs 15 million or nearly half million US dollars (May 94).
This compared very favourably to N. Delhi incineration plant (300 TPD, Rs 220 million). As it was
first attempt of its kind, it required experimentation and modifications to zero down on specific
waste handling, size reduction and separation processes along with optimization of system
parameters. The plant was erected and extended trials were undertaken. A number of new
innovations were made in garbage separation methods.

The fuel pellets produced were also test marketed successfully. However, there was a need to
support the technology development effort for a long enough duration which has been lacking.
Despite the promise of RDF, it will be limited in application due to need to have large industrial
areas in close proximity to market the fuel to. The cost differential between cost of coal and the
RDF should also be attractive to ensure sales.

Solid waste management in the Himalayan region
The Himalayan region of India is spread across 12 states and accounts for 18 per cent of
country's land area and six per cent of the population (Swarup et al. 1994) (9). The region is
largely remote and comprises of far flung and difficult to access settlements. The population is
      largely rural. The urban areas comprise small and medium towns. The region also receives a
      good number of tourists. Proper management of solid wastes is of paramount importance in this
      region because of its increased pollution potential resulting from down stream effects. Rural
      population relies on surrounding forests for its energy needs.

      This has been one of the causes of forest depletion. It is difficult to reach conventional urban
      energy sources such as bottled cooking gas, kerosene etc. to remote rural areas due to
      difficulties of access in mountain terrain. This makes role of non-conventional energy sources
      quite important. The rural wastes also assume significance due to their energy potential. The role
      of simple technologies to ensure efficient utilization of energy from waste will hence be very
      important in this region. The bio-gas option will have limited application due to lower prevailing
      temperatures in the region. It may however be feasible upto certain altitudes. Improved
      wood/biomass burning stoves and biomass gasification technology can play important role.

      The urban waste disposal options will be considerably affected by mountain specificities.
      Landfilling may not be possible due to undulating terrain and paucity of flat spaces. Composting
      may be predominant choice but with due care to intercept run-off from composting areas and its
      treatment. The seasonal flow of tourists accounts for a good deal of floating population especially
      during summer. Any planning for solid waste should consider this factor. The large influx of
      tourists has also resulted in problems of litter at high altitude scenic and tourist spots. This has
      created peculiar problems of waste retrieval and restoration of those areas.

      General Conclusions
1.             Bio-gas systems can effectively handle localized and specific wastes and contribute to
      environment friendly disposal of wastes.
2.             The semi-mechanized aerobic composting, however, still remains a strong option for
      small and medium towns.
3.             Mass incineration will remain a possibility for future.
4.             Incineration on small scale will be indispensable for hospital waste etc.
5.             RDF in specific cases is an attractive option provided that sustained indigenous
      technology development efforts are made.
6.             All technologies attempting to process garbage are difficult to master as they are
      traditionally geared towards handling virgin and homogenous materials.
7.             The role of simple technologies to ensure efficient utilization of energy from waste will
      hence be important in the Himalayan region.
8.             Waste generated by floating population of tourists is an important consideration in the
9.             Though a number of options are suited to Indian conditions, a particular solution should
      take into account location and waste specific factors.
10.            No single technology option will be sufficient to take care of emerging problems of urban
      solid wastes. A mix of options will have to be developed and applied on case to case basis.

      The recommendations can be broken up under various categories such as:
            Manpower/education and training
            Regulatory and fiscal
            R and D and technology development

      Manpower/education and training
             Local governments should work towards infusion of greater management and supervisory
          Data and knowledge base at the local government level should be strengthened.
          The problem of over-staffing should be given serious socio-political consideration.
          Education efforts should focus on women to highlight proper household disposal,
    segregation and community participation.
          Steps should be taken to improve health status of scavengers.

    Regulatory and fiscal

            Local bodies should awaken to the need for suitable legislation as per the prevailing local
            Privatization of collection and transportation of urban solid wastes is highly
    recommended. It will help provide a cap on expenditure, reduce inefficiency and provide better
    level of service.
            Private initiatives in waste disposal or utilization should also be encouraged by way of
    fiscal and other incentives.
            A nominal garbage tax along the lines of house tax is recommended. It will generate
    much needed finances and also bring into focus much neglected problem of solid waste.
            Secondary products should be regulated to protect consumers.

    R and D and technology development
          Standard practices for sanitary landfilling under Indian conditions should be developed.
          Technology and training packages for semi-mechanized aerobic composing at small and
    medium scale should be developed.
          R and D efforts should focus on developing improved plants for wastes from vegetable
    markets, kitchens and restaurants etc.
          Recycling in the informal sector should be quantified.

    Sustainable Development
    The presented definition of sustainable development by those who are misleading you is:

    “Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future
    generations to meet their own needs. It contains within it two key concepts: the concept of
    "needs", in particular the essential needs of the world's poor, to which overriding priority should
    be given; and the idea of limitations imposed by the state of technology and social organization
    on the environment's ability to meet present and the future needs. (Brundtland Commission,
    1987). ...”

    This most popular phrase (above) is a political statement wrapped in a blanket of
    environmentalism. It is socialistic in nature and addresses redistribution of wealth. The truth in
    what I have said is found in Maurice Strong‘s address to the opening session of the Rio
    Conference (Earth Summit II) in 1992, when he stated that industrialized countries have:

    “…developed and benefited from the unsustainable patterns of production and consumption
    which have produced our present dilemma. It is clear that current lifestyles and consumption
    patterns of the affluent middle class -- involving high meat intake, consumption of large amounts
    of frozen and convenience foods, use of fossil fuels, appliances, home and work-place air-
    conditioning, and suburban housing -- are not sustainable. A shift is necessary toward lifestyles
    less geared to environmentally damaging consumption patterns."
The United Nations produced a product to address the Brutland Commission and Maurice Strong,
it is called Agenda 21. It is forty chapters consisting of over three hundred pages and the
commission the UN formed to implement Agenda 21 is; the Commission on Sustainable

Therefore, the real definition of ‗sustainable development‘ is: Agenda 21, the United Nations plan
for the future of the world. Agenda 21 and sustainable development are one and the same. Make
no mistake in thinking otherwise.

The words ‗sustainable development‘ just sounds less ominous than Agenda 21. Sustainable
development will, in your community, force a ―re-think‖, by local citizens, of every aspect of
American life. It will happen during open dialog and because it does, change will become
inevitable as change then becomes the ―rule of life‖. The ―rule of life‖ is: Every idea irrepressibly
breeds its opposite and the two merge into a synthesis which in turn produces its own

It is the ―Hegelian Dialect‖ of thesis, antithesis and synthesis. It will be called: ―reaching
consensus‖. Its goal then is to change the way society ‗thinks‘, especially about individuality. It
directs you toward community thinking which will then undermine individual liberties. Think about
it; when you are the freest country in the world and change is forced upon you, you can only end
up less free. Therefore, sustainable development, which forces change upon us, means we will
only become less free.

You could say sustainable development‟s definition is a blue print on how to remove
individual liberties through mis-guided consensus.

Update: Recently an interested party queried me regarding this definition. Part of my
response is below. This response does nothing to further the above stated definition,
however, it may give you a glimpse into why this definition is the correct definition.
4/23/2007 Our Founding Fathers, whose history lay in Europe, came to America with the
idea that mankind was meant to be free.

Unfortunately, some also brought the concept of what race qualified and that cost over
500,000 Americans their lives and left many lives destroyed. But in the end the concept of
freedom for all would prevail. 142 years later we are still trying. They (the Founders)
believed and agreed that man was born with certain unalienable rights and founded our
freedom and liberty on the fact that man‟s rights come from GOD, not the government, and
that is the crux of our freedom and liberty. They also knew that if the time came that man
accepted that his rights were handed down by government, then freedom would be lost.
Governments must respect the rights of man and of those rights property rights are the
foundation for liberty.

James Madison
March 29, 1792

Property: ―This term in its particular application means "that dominion which one man claims and
exercises over the external things of the world, in exclusion of every other individual." In its larger
and juster meaning, it embraces every thing to which a man may attach a value and have a right;
and which leaves to every one else the like advantage. In the former sense, a man‘s land, or
merchandize, or money is called his property. In the latter sense, a man has a property in his
opinions and the free communication of them.

He has a property of peculiar value in his religious opinions, and in the profession and practice
dictated by them. He has a property very dear to him in the safety and liberty of his person. He
has an equal property in the free use of his faculties and free choice of the objects on which to
employ them. In a word, as a man is said to have a right to his property, he may be equally said
to have a property in his rights. Where an excess of power prevails, property of no sort is duly
respected. No man is safe in his opinions, his person, his faculties, or his possessions. Where
there is an excess of liberty, the effect is the same, tho‘ from an opposite cause. Government is
instituted to protect property of every sort; as well that which lies in the various rights of
individuals, as that which the term particularly expresses.

This being the end of government, that alone is a just government, which impartially secures to
every man, whatever is his own.

” I know and understand that society must have laws, ordnances and rules so we can exist
together in some sense of harmony, safety and respect and I too am appalled at the levels
of disrespect one man has for another‟s rights to exist and of that disrespect is included

But pollution is relevant and to expect the entire world to change to correct pollution
locally is absurd. It boils down to a matter of respect. If someone craps in their own
drinking water source global cooperation will not help? I respect you for wanting to make
a difference and commend you for the time and energy you are putting forth, but just as
science has now learned that hydrocarbons can and are produced geologically not
everything you accept as fact may be true. (Hydrocarbons includes oil)

There are still billions and billions of gallons of unpolluted clean water. There are still
millions of uninhabited acres. There is clean air and every year they find more oil sources.
There are scientists driven by capitalism working diligently hour after hour developing
solutions to today‟s dilemma. Have faith in future man to find solutions through
technology. (Brundtland Commission, 1987) Development that meets the needs of the present
without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

What should we save? What will be the needs of future generations that you are convinced
won‟t exist and that future man will be incapable of over coming? What should my
children be deprived of to better serve a future that we can not see? Sustainable
Development means Agenda 21 and if you read my definition of Sustainable Development I
said: “You could say sustainable development‟s definition is a blue print on how to
remove individual liberties through mis-guided consensus.”

Agenda 21, Sustainable Development, was produced and is promoted by an organization,
the UN, which has a history. A history that embraces socialism, resents the United States,
does nothing to protect the world from vicious dictators who murder their own people, is
filled with corrupt people who stole food from poor people, sidetrack medical supplies to
those in need and is guilty of rape and so many atrocities they are un countable and you
ask me to embrace and support this Agenda 21.

Are you sure you wish to align your allegiance with this group. Maurice Strong told the
opening session of the Rio Conference (Earth Summit II) in 1992, that industrialized
countries have:

"…developed and benefited from the unsustainable patterns of production and consumption
which have produced our present dilemma. It is clear that current lifestyles and consumption
patterns of the affluent middle class -- involving high meat intake, consumption of large amounts
of frozen and convenience foods, use of fossil fuels, appliances, home and work-place air-
conditioning, and suburban housing -- are not sustainable. A shift is necessary toward lifestyles
less geared to environmentally damaging consumption patterns."
These opening remarks and the actions that followed is where you want to hang your hat.
Maurice Strong, along with most UN folks, turned out to be corrupt and he was snagged in
the oil for food scandal. Do you really think he gives a rip about you and yours when he
and his cronies willingly screw over the poor and disadvantaged? Agenda 21, Sustainable
Development, is about control, control of your life and your property.

That's it. You asked about my comment regarding the UK. - In one phrase you implied that
as an American I might fear losing our position in the world scheme of things and I do not.
Touché Re: global warming and the boogieman: I won‟t argue that the Earth may not be
warming but I seriously doubt we can stop it from happening if it is and I also seriously
question our mortal ability to cause it. Over my life I have watched science and
government manipulate information to suit their needs and I am very skeptical of tagging
any global warming or cooling with it being caused by human activity.

My first thought is; who caused all the heating and cooling before man? Even a little more
modern, who caused the last ice age? And then too, if Earth hasn‟t been warming since
the last ice age how did we get from there to this temperature? But making it the
boogieman does advance the cause of those who have an agenda no matter what the
science and facts may be. Man is so arrogant we like to believe we are in control. We like
to think that if something is going on we must have caused it because if we admit we
didn‟t cause it then we are conceding we aren‟t in control. Ooops.

Sustainable Development : Definition
Sustainable development is defined as balancing the fulfillment of human needs with the
protection of the natural environment so that these needs can be met not only in the present, but
in the indefinite future.

The linkage between environment and development was first made in 1980, when the
International Union for the Conservation of Nature published the World Conservation Strategy
and used the term "sustainable development."

The concept came into general usage following publication of the 1987 report of the Brundtland
Commission — formally, the World Commission on Environment and Development. Set up by the
United Nations General Assembly, the Brundtland Commission coined what was to become the
most often-quoted definition of sustainable development as development that "meets the needs
of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own

The field of sustainable development can be conceptually broken into four constituent parts:
environmental sustainability, economic sustainability, social sustainability and political
Scope and definitions:
Sustainable development does not focus solely on environmental issues. More broadly,
sustainable development policies encompass three general policy areas: economic,
environmental and social. In support of this, several United Nations texts, most recently the 2005
World Summit Outcome Document, refer to the "interdependent and mutually reinforcing pillars"
of sustainable development as economic development, social development, and environmental

Scheme of sustainable development: at the confluence of three preoccupations.
    Sustainable development does not focus solely on environmental issues. More broadly,
    sustainable development policies encompass three general policy areas: economic,
    environmental and social. In support of this, several United Nations texts, most recently the 2005
    World Summit Outcome Document, refer to the "interdependent and mutually reinforcing pillars"
    of sustainable development as economic development, social development, and environmental

    Scheme of sustainable development: at the confluence of three preoccupations.

    The Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity (UNESCO, 2001) elaborates further the concept
    by stating that "...cultural diversity is as necessary for humankind as biodiversity is for nature‖; it
    becomes ―one of the roots of development understood not simply in terms of economic growth,
    but also as a means to achieve a more satisfactory intellectual, emotional, moral and spiritual
    existence". In this vision, cultural diversity is the fourth policy area of sustainable development.

    Green development is generally differentiated from Sustainable development in that Green
    development prioritizes what its proponents consider to be environmental sustainability over
    economic and cultural considerations. Proponents of Sustainable Development argue that it
    provides a context in which to improve overall sustainability where cutting edge Green
    development is unattainable. For example, a cutting edge treatment plant with extremely high
    maintenance costs may not be sustainable in regions of the world with less financial resources.
    An environmentally ideal plant that is shut down due to bankruptcy is obviously less sustainable
    than one that is maintainable by the indigenous community, even if it is somewhat less effective
    from an environmental standpoint.

    Some research activities start from this definition to argue that the environment is a combination
    of nature and culture. The Network of Excellence "Sustainable Development in a Diverse World"
    SUS.DIV, sponsored by the European Union, works in this direction. It integrates multidisciplinary
    capacities and interprets cultural diversity as a key element of a new strategy for sustainable
    The United Nations Division for Sustainable Development lists the following areas as coming
    within the scope of Sustainable Development:[3]

           Agriculture            Education and                               
                                                                  International Law         Science
           Atmosphere      Awareness                            International            Small
           Biodiversity           Energy                Cooperation for Enabling Islands
           Biotechnology          Finance               Environment                      Sustainabl
           Capacity-              Forests                      Institutional     e tourism
    building                       Fresh Water           Arrangements                     Technolog
           Climate Change         Health                       Land              y
           Consumption            Human                 management                       Toxic
    and Production          Settlements                          Major Groups      Chemicals
    Patterns                       Indicators                   Mountains                Trade and
           Demographics           Industry                     National          Environment
                         
            Desertification         Information for       Sustainable Development          Transport
    and Drought             Decision Making and           Strategies                       Waste
           Disaster        Participation                        Oceans and Seas(Hazardous)
    Reduction and                  Integrated                   Poverty                  Waste
    Management              Decision Making                      Sanitation        (Radioactive)
                                                                                           Waste
                                                                                                 Water

    Sustainable Development is an ambiguous concept, as a wide array of views fall under its
    umbrella. The concept has included notions of weak sustainability, strong sustainability and deep
    ecology. Different conceptions also reveal a strong tension between ecocentrism and
    anthropocentrism. Thus, the concept remains weakly defined and contains a large amount of
    debate as to its precise definition.
    During the last ten years, different organizations have tried to measure and monitor the proximity
    to what they consider sustainability by implementing what has been called sustainability metric
    and indices.

    The Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity (UNESCO, 2001) elaborates further the concept
    by stating that "...cultural diversity is as necessary for humankind as biodiversity is for nature‖; it
    becomes ―one of the roots of development understood not simply in terms of economic growth,
    but also as a means to achieve a more satisfactory intellectual, emotional, moral and spiritual
    existence". In this vision, cultural diversity is the fourth policy area of sustainable development.

    Green development is generally differentiated from Sustainable development in that Green
    development prioritizes what its proponents consider to be environmental sustainability over
    economic and cultural considerations. Proponents of Sustainable Development argue that it
    provides a context in which to improve overall sustainability where cutting edge Green
    development is unattainable. For example, a cutting edge treatment plant with extremely high
    maintenance costs may not be sustainable in regions of the world with less financial resources.
    An environmentally ideal plant that is shut down due to bankruptcy is obviously less sustainable
    than one that is maintainable by the indigenous community, even if it is somewhat less effective
    from an environmental standpoint.

    Some research activities start from this definition to argue that the environment is a combination
    of nature and culture. The Network of Excellence "Sustainable Development in a Diverse World"
    SUS.DIV, sponsored by the European Union, works in this direction. It integrates multidisciplinary
    capacities and interprets cultural diversity as a key element of a new strategy for sustainable

    The United Nations Division for Sustainable Development lists the following areas as coming
    within the scope of Sustainable Development:[3]
            Agriculture             Education and                          
                                                              International Law            Science
            Atmosphere      Awareness                       International               Small
            Biodiversity            Energy          Cooperation for Enabling Islands
            Biotechnology           Finance         Environment                         Sustainabl
            Capacity-               Forests                Institutional        e tourism
    building                         Fresh Water     Arrangements                        Technolog
            Climate Change          Health                 Land management y
            Consumption             Human                  Major Groups                Toxic
    and Production Patterns Settlements                      Mountains            Chemicals
            Demographics            Indicators             National                    Trade and
                          
             Desertification          Industry        Sustainable Development Environment
    and Drought                      Information for Strategies                          Transport
            Disaster        Decision Making and             Oceans and Seas             Waste
    Reduction and            Participation                   Poverty              (Hazardous)
    Management                       Integrated             Sanitation                  Waste
                             Decision Making                                       (Radioactive)
                                                                                          Waste
                                                                                        Water

Sustainable Development is an ambiguous concept, as a wide array of views fall under its
umbrella. The concept has included notions of weak sustainability, strong sustainability and deep
ecology. Different conceptions also reveal a strong tension between ecocentrism and
anthropocentrism. Thus, the concept remains weakly defined and contains a large amount of
debate as to its precise definition.
During the last ten years, different organizations have tried to measure and monitor the proximity
to what they consider sustainability by implementing what has been called sustainability metric
and indices.

Sustainable Development : Definition and concept
There are hundreds of definitions of the concept of "Sustainable Development". Since the 1987
Brundtland Report, several attempts at a more accurate and operational definition of sustainable
development have only led to more ambiguity.

The Washington State University Sustainable Development Sourcebook has an overview of the
academic literature dealing with the definition of sustainable development .

It is generally accepted that sustainable development deals with three dimensions: the
environment, the economy and social equity.

The concept of "sustainability" linked to human development originated in the 1970s with books
such as Goldsmith's "Blueprint for Survival" (1972) and the Club of Rome's "Limits to Growth"
(1972). In the same year 1972, the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, in
Stockholm put the spotlight on the reconciliation of environment and economic development.

In 1987, the term sustainable development entered into the political arena with the publication by
the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) of its report " Our Common
Future" [more commonly known as "the Brundtland Report"].

In 1992, the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), or the "Earth Summit",
in Rio de Janeiro, agreed on a Declaration setting out 27 principles supporting sustainable
development. The Summit also agreed a plan of action, Agenda 21, and recommended that all
countries produce national sustainable development strategies. A special UN Commission on
Sustainable Development was created. Also in 1992, the EU adopted its Fifth Environmental
Action Programme, called "Towards Sustainability".

In 1999, the Amsterdam Treaty enshrined sustainable development as one of the core task of the
European Union (Article 2 of the EC Treaty).

In June 2001, the Gothenburg European Council adopted the Commission's Sustainable
Development Strategy (for more see our special LinksDossier on the Union's strategy)

From 26 August to 4 September 2002, the Johannesburg Summit reviewed the progress made
on global sustainable development since the Rio Summit (see our LinksDossier on the
Johannesburg Summit).

Sustainable Development has become something of a "faith" to politicians, economists and
environmentalists in the last 10 years. It seems hardly politically correct to dare to question its
validity. Nonetheless, criticism has been voiced over the contradictions and implications of the
concept. Some less-developed countries see sustainable development as an ideology imposed
by the wealthy industrialised countries to impose stricter conditions and rules on aid to developing

Other critics suggest that the concept does not give enough attention to the poor, who suffer most
from environmental degradation. A major critique of the concept has been that is does not
question the ideology of economic growth. Some therefore see it as a new ideology of neo-
liberalism. For 'Deep Ecology' critics, the paradigm of sustainable development does not
adequately challenge the consumer culture. Deep ecologists argue that the concept of
sustainable development is too human-centric.

There are also critics who attack the sustainable development concept from a conservative, free
market perspective. They argue that natural resources are abundant and man's ingenuity is so
great that sustainable development policies are unnecessary and dangerous. They also maintain
that the ideal of intergenerational equity is incoherent and flawed.

Technology Assessment
Technology assessment
Technology assessment (TA, German Technikfolgenabschätzung) is the study and evaluation
of new technologies. It is based on the conviction that new developments within, and discoveries
by, the scientific community are relevant for the world at large rather than just for the scientific
experts themselves, and that technological progress can never be free of ethical implications.
Also, technology assessment recognizes the fact that scientists normally are not trained ethicists
themselves and accordingly ought to be very careful when passing ethical judgement on their
own, or their colleagues´, new findings, projects, or work in progress.

Technology assessment assumes a global perspective and is future-oriented rather than
backward-looking or anti-technological. ("Scientific research and science-based technological
innovation is an indispensable prerequisite of modern life and civilization. There is no alternative.

Assessment for appropriate technology:
Technology assessment helps to realize the necessary adequacy between technology and the
needs on the one hand, and between technology and financial means and human resources on
the other hand. Analysis of well-known kinds of incidents should focus on efficiency,
effectiveness, cost and cost-effectiveness as main criteria.

Appropriate technology issues should not lead to a "low tech-high tech" debate. Appropriate
technology could be defined as the technology which is needed and suitable, regarding a given
strategy or policy.

Appropriate technology could be appraised through technology assessment based on
considerations on the user, the device and the provider.
Waste Management
Waste management is the collection, transport, processing, recycling or disposal of waste
materials, usually ones produced by human activity, in an effort to reduce their effect on human
health or local aesthetics or amenity. A subfocus in recent decades has been to reduce waste
materials' effect on the natural world and the environment and to recover resources from them.
Waste management can involve solid, liquid or gaseous substances with different methods and
fields of expertise for each.
Waste management practices differ for developed and developing nations, for urban and rural
areas, and for residential, industrial, and commercial producers. Waste management for non-
hazardous residential and institutional waste in metropolitan areas is usually the responsibility of
local government authorities, while management for non-hazardous commercial and industrial
waste is usually the responsibility of the generator.

Waste hierarchy

The waste hierarchy
The waste hierarchy refers to the "3 Rs" reduce, reuse and recycle, which classify waste
management strategies according to their desirability in terms of waste minimization. The waste
hierarchy remains the cornerstone of most waste minimisation strategies. The aim of the waste
hierarchy is to extract the maximum practical benefits from products and to generate the
minimum amount of waste.

Extended producer responsibility
Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is a strategy designed to promote the integration of
environmental costs associated with products throughout their life cycles into the market price of
the products. Extended producer responsibility imposes accountability over the entire life cycle of
products and packaging introduced on the market. This means that firms which manufacture,
import and/or sell products are required to be financially or physically responsible for such
products after their useful life.

Polluter pays principle
The Polluter Pays Principle is a principle where the polluting party pays for the damage done to
the natural environment. With respect to waste management, this generally refers to the
requirement for a generator to pay for appropriate disposal of the waste.

Waste collection methods
Waste collection methods vary widely between different countries and regions, and it would be
impossible to describe them all. Many areas, especially those in less developed countries, do not
have a formal waste-collection system in place.

For example, in Australia most urban domestic households have a 240-litre (63.4 U.S. gallon) bin
that is emptied weekly from the curb using side- or rear-loading compactor trucks.

In Europe and a few other places around the world, a few communities use a proprietary
collection system known as Envac, which conveys refuse via underground conduits using a
vacuum system. Roosevelt Island has had this system since 1975[1].

In Canadian urban centres curbside collection is the most common method of disposal, whereby
the city collects waste and/or recyclables and/or organics on a scheduled basis. In rural areas
people usually dispose of their waste by hauling it to a transfer station. Waste collected is then
transported to a regional landfill.

Waste management methods
1. Landfill
2. Incineration
3. Resource recovery
4. Recycling
5. Composting and anaerobic digestion
6. Mechanical biological treatment
7. Pyrolysis & gasification

Waste management methods for vary widely between areas for many reasons, including type of
waste material, nearby land uses, and the area available.

For example, in Australia the most common method of disposal of solid household waste is in
landfill sites, due to it being a large country with a relatively low-density population (therefore
landfill sites are relatively common).

By contrast, in Japan it is more common for solid waste to be incinerated because that country is
smaller and population density greater (therefore less room is available for landfill sites).

Disposing of waste in a landfill is one of the most
traditional method of waste disposal, and it remains a
common practice in most countries. Historically,
landfills were often established in disused quarries,
mining voids or borrow pits. A properly-designed and
well-managed landfill can be a hygienic and relatively
inexpensive method of disposing of waste materials
in a way that minimises their impact on the local
                                                          A landfill compaction vehicle in operation
Older, poorly-designed or poorly-managed landfills
can create a number of adverse environmental impacts such as wind-blown litter, attraction of
vermin, and generation of leachate where result of rain percolating through the waste and
reacting with the products of decomposition, chemicals and other materials in the waste to
produce the leachate which can pollute groundwater and surface water. Another byproduct of
landfills is landfill gas (mostly composed of methane and carbon dioxide), which is produced as
organic waste breaks down anaerobically. This gas can create odor problems, kill surface
vegetation, and is a greenhouse gas.

Design characteristics of a modern landfill include methods to contain leachate, such as clay or
plastic lining material. Disposed waste is normally compacted to increase its density and stablise
the new landform, and covered to prevent attracting vermin (such as mice or rats) and reduce the
amount of wind-blown litter. Many landfills also have a landfill gas extraction system installed after
closure to extract the landfill gas generated by the decomposing waste materials. Gas is pumped
out of the landfill using perforated pipes and flared off or burnt in a gas engine to generate
electricity. Flaring off the gas is generally a better environmental outcome than allowing it to
escape to the atmosphere, as this consumes the methane (which is a far more potent
greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide).

Many local authorities, especially in urban areas, have found it difficult to establish new landfills
due to opposition from owners of adjacent land. Few people want a landfill in their local
neighborhood. As a result, solid waste disposal in these areas has become more expensive as
material must be transported further away for disposal (or managed by other methods).

This fact, as well as growing concern about the impacts of excessive materials consumption, has
given rise to efforts to minimise the amount of waste sent to landfill in many areas. These efforts
include taxing or levying waste sent to landfill, recycling the materials, converting material to
energy, designing products that use less material, and legislation mandating that manufacturers
become responsible for disposal costs of products or packaging. A related subject is that of
industrial ecology, where the material flows between industries is studied. The by-products of one
industry may be a useful commodity to another, leading to a reduced materials waste stream.

Some futurists have speculated that landfills may one day be mined: as some resources become
more scarce, they will become valuable enough that it would be economical to 'mine' them from
landfills where these materials were previously discarded as valueless. A related idea is the
establishment of a 'monofill' landfill containing only one waste type (e.g. waste vehicle tires), as a
method of long-term storage.

2. Incineration
Incineration is a waste disposal method that involves the combustion of waste at high
temperatures. Incineration and other high temperature waste treatment systems are described as
"thermal treatment". In effect, incineration of waste materials converts the waste into heat,
gaseous emissions, and residual solid ash. Other types of thermal treatment include pyrolysis
and gasification.
A waste-to-energy plant (WtE) is a modern term for an incinerator that burns wastes in high-
efficiency furnace/boilers to produce steam and/or electricity and incorporates modern air
pollution control systems and continuous emissions monitors. This type of incinerator is
sometimes called an energy-from-waste (EfW) facility.

Incineration is popular in countries such as Japan where land is a scarce resource, as they do not
consume as much area as a landfill. Sweden has been a leader in using the energy generated
from incineration over the past 20 years. Denmark also extensively uses waste-to-energy
incineration in localised combined heat and power facilities supporting district heating schemes.
Incineration is carried out both on a small scale by individuals, and on a large scale by industry. It
is recognised as a practical method of disposing of certain hazardous waste materials (such as
biological medical waste), though it remains a controversial method of waste disposal in many
places due to issues such as emission of gaseous pollutants.

Breaking down complex chemical chains such as dioxin through the application of heat usually
cannot be done by simply burning the material at the temperatures seen in an open-air fire. It is
often necessary to supplement the combustion process with gas or oil burners and air blowers to
raise the temperature high enough to result in molecular breakdown. Alternately, the exhaust
gases from a natural air fire may pass through tubes heated to sufficiently high temperatures to
trigger thermal breakdown.

Thermal breakdown of pollutant molecules can indirectly create other pollution problems. Dioxin
breakdown begins at 1000°C, but at the same time poisonous nitrogen oxides and ozone begin to
form when atmospheric nitrogen and oxygen break down at 1600°C. This undesired oxide
formation may require further catalytic treatment of the exhaust gases.
3. Resourse Recovery:
A relatively recent idea in waste management has been to treat the waste material as a resource
to be exploited, instead of simply a challenge to be managed and disposed of. There are a
number of different methods by which resources may be extracted from waste: the materials may
be extracted and recycled, or the calorific content of the waste may be converted to electricity.

The process of extracting resources or value from waste is variously referred to as secondary
resource recovery, recycling, and other terms. The practice of treating waste materials as a
resource is becoming more common, especially in metropolitan areas where space for new
landfills is becoming scarcer. There is also a growing acknowledgement that simply disposing of
waste materials is unsustainable in the long term, as there is a finite supply of most raw materials.
There are a number of methods of recovering resources from waste materials, with new
technologies and methods being developed continuously.

In some developing nations some resource recovery takes place by way of manual labourers who
sift through un-segregated waste to salvage material that can be sold in the recycling market.
These unrecognised workers called waste pickers or rag pickers, are part of the informal sector,
but play a significant role in reducing the load on municipalities' solid waste management
departments. There is an increasing trend in recognising their contribution to the environment and
there are efforts to try and integrate them into the formal waste management systems, which is
proven to be both cost effective and also appears to help in urban poverty alleviation. However,
the very high human cost of these activities including disease, injury and reduced life expectancy
through contact with toxic or infectious materials would not be tolerated in a developed country.
4. Recycling:
Recycling means to recover for other use a material that would otherwise be considered waste.
The popular meaning of ‗recycling‘ in most developed countries has come to refer to the
widespread collection and reuse of various everyday waste materials, such as newspapers and
drink bottles. They are collected and sorted into common types so that the raw materials from
these items can be used again to create new products. In many areas, material for recycling is
collected separately from general waste using dedicated bins and collection vehicles. Other
waste management processes can recover materials from mixed waste streams.

In developed countries, the most common consumer items recycled include aluminium beverage
cans, steel, food and aerosol cans, HDPE and PET bottles, glass bottles and jars, paperboard
cartons, newspapers, magazines, and cardboard. Other types of plastic (PVC, LDPE, PP, and
PS: see resin identification code) are also recyclable, although these are not as commonly
collected. These items are usually composed of a single type of material, making them relatively
easy to recycle into new products. The recycling of complex products (such as computers and
electronic equipment) is more difficult and costly, due to the separation and reprocessing

The economics of recycling waste products is complex, depending variously on the product,
location and market forces. Recycled or used materials compete in the market with new (virgin)
materials. The cost of collecting and sorting the materials often means that they are equally or
more expensive than virgin materials. This is most often the case in developed countries where
industries producing the raw materials are well-established. Practices such as trash picking can
reduce this value further, as choice items are removed (such as aluminium cans). In some
countries, recycling programs are subsidised by deposits paid on beverage containers

Most economic systems do not account for the benefits to the environment of recycling these
materials, compared with extracting virgin materials. It usually requires significantly less energy,
water and other resources to recycle materials than to produce new materials [2]. For example,
recycling 1000 kg of aluminum cans saves approximately 5000 kg of bauxite ore being mined
(source: ALCOA Australia) and prevents the generation of 15.17 tonnes CO2eq greenhouse
gases [3]; recycling steel saves about 95% of the energy used to refine virgin ore (source: U.S.
Bureau of Mines). Some attempts have been made to account for these benefits using market
interventions, such as mandatory recycling programs, container deposit legislation and extended
producer responsibility laws.

When consumer-separated recycling is a government requirement, waste is often not well
separated due of either ignorance or contempt of the rules. This results in glass containers that
may have metal lids still attached and rotted food inside, aluminum cans full of chewing tobacco
spit and cigarette butts, corrugated paper boxes soiled with oils, solvents, or rotting food, and
inclusion of incompatible plastic types in a plastics recycling bin. This can all lead to process
contamination, work stoppage, a system cleanout, and landfill disposal of the contaminated batch
of otherwise recyclable materials. Re-sorting of consumer-separated wastes is often needed to
prevent recycling process contamination.

A common method of machine sorting of complex waste streams is to shred the entire stream
into a fine particulate of similar size. A magnetic conveyor belt removes ferrous metals from this
particulate, and cyclonic separation towers separate objects from the waste stream by mass.
Spectral imaging such as with X-rays can further separate glass and various metals from the
stream by scanning for x-ray absorption and firing precise puffs of air at the falling pieces to push
them sideways into various sorting bins.

The remainder of the unsorted shredded material is known as fluff and contains mostly plastics,
paper and other organic materials. When vehicles are shredded and processed in this manner for
recycling, often a large mass of fluff results from the plastics used in the seat cushions,
dashboard, roof liner, carpeting, and so forth. There are not many well-established processes for
further separation and recycling of fluff, other than incineration or pyrolysis.

5. Composting and anaerobic digestion:
Waste materials that are organic in nature, such as plant material, food scraps, and paper
products, are increasingly being recycled using biogical composting and/or digestion processes to
decompose the organic matter and kill pathogens. The resulting organic material is then recycled
as mulch or compost for agricultural or landscaping purposes.
There are a large variety of composting and digestion methods and technologies, varying in
complexity from simple windrow composting of shredded plant material, to automated enclosed-
vessel digestion of mixed domestic waste. These methods of biological decomposition are
differentiated as being aerobic in composting methods or anaerobic in digestion methods,
although hybrids of the two methods also exist.
An example of waste management through composting is Green Bin Program in Toronto,
Canada, where household organic waste (such as kitchen scraps and plant cuttings) are
collected in a dedicated container and then composted.

6. Mechanical biological treatment:
Mechanical biological treatment (MBT) is a technology category for combinations of
mechanical sorting and biological treatment of the organic fraction of municipal waste.
MBT is also sometimes called BMT (Biological Mechanical Treatment), however this
simply refers to the order of processing.

The "mechanical" element is usually a bulk handling mechanical sorting stage. This
removes recyclable elements from the waste (such as metals, plastics and glass), and/or
processes it to produce refuse derived fuel (RDF) that is burnt in power plants, boilers or
kilns. The "biological" element refers to a biological digestion process, which breaks
down the biodegradable component of the waste to produce biogas and/or organic matter.
The biogas can be used to generate energy, and organic matter recycled as compost.

ArrowBio UASB anaerobic digesters, Hiriya, Tel Aviv, Israel
An example of large-scale biological treatment facility is the composting facility in
Edmonton, Canada, where 200,000 tonnes of residential solid waste and 22,500 tonnes of
biosolids are composted each year to produce 80,000 tonnes of compost. The co-
composter itself is 38,690 square metres in size, equivalent to 8 football fields.

Pyrolysis & gasification
Main articles: Pyrolysis and Gasification
Pyrolysis and gasification are two related forms of thermal treatment where waste
materials are heated to high temperatures with limited oxygen availability. The process
typically occurs in a sealed vessel under high pressure. Converting material to energy in a
sealed environment is potentially more efficient than direct incineration, with more energy
able to be recovered and used.

Pyrolysis of solid waste converts the material into solid, liquid and gas products. The
liquid oil and gas can be burnt to produce energy or refined into other products. The solid
residue (char) can be further refined into products such as activated carbon.
Gasification is used to convert organic materials directly into a synthetic gas (syngas)
composed of carbon monoxide and hydrogen. The gas is then burnt to produce electricity
and steam. Gasification is used in biomass power stations to produce renewable energy
and heat.